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Hyperion Records

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Photographs of Dmitri Alexeev and Nikolai Demidenko by Jill Furmanovsky
Track(s) taken from CDH55337
Recording details: April 1993
Snape Maltings, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Ates Orga
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: February 1994
Total duration: 8 minutes 5 seconds

'Phenomenal … transcendental' (BBC Music Magazine Top 1000 CDs Guide)

'I would happily recommend all Russophiles buy this disc for the stunning Medtner performances alone' (CDReview)

Russian Rhapsody, Op posth.
12-14 January 1891

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Posthumously published in 1948, the manuscript of the youthful two-movement folk Russian Rhapsody (Museum of Musical Culture, Moscow) is dated 12–14 January 1891. ‘Someone had told [Rachmaninov] that nothing could be written on a certain Russian theme’, remembered Alexander Goldenweiser, recalling the occasion of the first performance (autumn 1891). So

he wrote a composition in E minor (in the form of variations). It was quite good music. I remember that at some benefit [Moscow Conservatoire student] concert for ourselves—we often arranged such events—Rachmaninov and [Joseph] Lhevinne performed this piece on two pianos; it concluded with a variation in octaves, alternating from one pianist to the other … on that occasion each increased the tempo, and everyone watched to see who would outplay whom. Each had a phenomenal wrist, but it was Rachmaninov who won.

How reliable was Goldenweiser’s memory? Or was the original form of the music different? As eventually written/printed, the final (G major) variation provides for no accelerando. And, with the exception of three bars on the last page, all the octave work is confined to the first piano part.

from notes by Ates Orga © 1993

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