Byron Janis, Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff, Antal Dorati, Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra – Concerto No. 2 In C Minor (Speakers Corner)
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The Second Piano Concerto stands for Rachmaninov's liberation from a crisis of several years, paved with failures. It was only at the suggestion of a psychiatrist, who predicted that he would write great music, that Rachmaninoff got back to work and landed his greatest success to date. Although the piano part demands the highest technical skills, the composer seemed to pursue other goals than celebrating a virtuoso showpiece, as the piano part nestles up to the orchestra for long stretches, accompanying it in a well-dosed but powerful gesture.Byron Janis, whose sovereign playing of the Rachmaninov literature influenced entire generations of pianists, sets standards in this recording, too, which unite irrepressible power and comfortable composure. He revels in the late-Romantic intoxication of harmonies, shines with neatly rendered internal structures and lets his muscles flex in this massive theme. The emotional middle movement is also brilliant, in which Janis saves the interplay of passion and reverie with the far-reaching chords and darkened sounds.