Hyperion Records

Preludes, Op 23
composer
mainly 1903; No 5: 1901

Recordings
'Sergio Fiorentino – The Early Recordings, Vol. 5 – Rachmaninov' (APR5585)
Sergio Fiorentino – The Early Recordings, Vol. 5 – Rachmaninov
APR5585  Download only  
'Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes' (CDA30015)
Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes
Buy by post £8.50 CDA30015  Hyperion 30th Anniversary series  
'Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes' (CDA67700)
Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67700 
'Rachmaninov: Preludes Op 23' (CDA66081)
Rachmaninov: Preludes Op 23
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66081  Archive Service  
'Rachmaninov: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDS44041/8)
Rachmaninov: The Complete Solo Piano Music
CDS44041/8  8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only  
'Rachmaninov: Demidenko plays Rachmaninov' (CDH55239)
Rachmaninov: Demidenko plays Rachmaninov
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55239  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Eileen Joyce – The complete Parlophone & Columbia solo recordings' (APR7502)
Eileen Joyce – The complete Parlophone & Columbia solo recordings
APR7502  5CDs Download only  
'Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2 – 9 March 1947' (APR5622)
Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2 – 9 March 1947
APR5622  Download only  
'Yakov Flier – Chopin, Kabalevsky & Rachmaninov' (APR5665)
Yakov Flier – Chopin, Kabalevsky & Rachmaninov
Buy by post £8.50 APR5665 
'Vladimir Horowitz – The complete solo European recordings' (APR6004)
Vladimir Horowitz – The complete solo European recordings
APR6004  2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only  
'York Bowen – The complete solo 78-rpm recordings' (APR6007)
York Bowen – The complete solo 78-rpm recordings
Buy by post £10.50 APR6007  2CDs for the price of 1  
Details
No 01 in F sharp minor: Largo
Track 2 on CDA30015 [3'44] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 2 on CDA67700 [3'44]
Track 1 on CDA66081 [3'37] Archive Service
Track 6 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [3'37] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 3 on CDH55239 [3'36] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 2 on APR5585 [3'42] Download only
No 02 in B flat major: Maestoso
Track 3 on CDA30015 [3'42] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 3 on CDA67700 [3'42]
Track 2 on CDA66081 [3'36] Archive Service
Track 7 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [3'36] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 3 on APR5585 [3'02] Download only
No 03 in D minor: Tempo di minuetto
Track 4 on CDA30015 [3'34] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 4 on CDA67700 [3'34]
Track 3 on CDA66081 [3'10] Archive Service
Track 8 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [3'10] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 4 on CDH55239 [3'51] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 4 on APR5585 [2'58] Download only
No 04 in D major: Andante cantabile
Track 5 on CDA30015 [5'22] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 5 on CDA67700 [5'22]
Track 4 on CDA66081 [4'43] Archive Service
Track 9 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [4'43] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 5 on APR5585 [4'41] Download only
No 05 in G minor: Alla marcia
Track 6 on CDA30015 [3'55] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 6 on CDA67700 [3'55]
Track 5 on CDA66081 [4'12] Archive Service
Track 10 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [4'12] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 5 on CDH55239 [4'17] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 10 on APR5622 [3'16] Download only
Track 6 on APR5585 [3'34] Download only
Track 17 on APR6004 CD2 [3'15] 2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 6 on APR5665 [3'40]
Track 9 on APR6007 CD2 [3'41] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 1 on APR7502 CD4 [3'48] 5CDs Download only
No 06 in E flat major: Andante
Track 7 on CDA30015 [3'08] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 7 on CDA67700 [3'08]
Track 6 on CDA66081 [3'46] Archive Service
Track 11 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [3'46] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 7 on APR5585 [2'40] Download only
Track 2 on APR7502 CD4 [2'17] 5CDs Download only
No 07 in C minor: Allegro
Track 8 on CDA30015 [2'39] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 8 on CDA67700 [2'39]
Track 7 on CDA66081 [2'36] Archive Service
Track 12 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [2'36] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 6 on CDH55239 [2'24] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 8 on APR5585 [2'12] Download only
Track 3 on APR7502 CD4 [2'08] 5CDs Download only
No 08 in A flat major: Allegro vivace
Track 9 on CDA30015 [3'41] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 9 on CDA67700 [3'41]
Track 8 on CDA66081 [3'30] Archive Service
Track 13 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [3'30] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 9 on APR5585 [3'22] Download only
Track 4 on APR7502 CD4 [2'56] 5CDs Download only
No 09 in E flat minor: Presto
Track 10 on CDA30015 [2'00] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 10 on CDA67700 [2'00]
Track 9 on CDA66081 [2'00] Archive Service
Track 14 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [2'00] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 10 on APR5585 [1'40] Download only
No 10 in G flat major: Largo
Track 11 on CDA30015 [3'52] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 11 on CDA67700 [3'52]
Track 10 on CDA66081 [3'58] Archive Service
Track 15 on CDS44041/8 CD1 [3'58] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 7 on CDH55239 [3'18] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 11 on APR5585 [3'30] Download only

Preludes, Op 23
EnglishFranηaisDeutsch
Ten years after the Prelude in C sharp minor, Rachmaninov returned to the genre, once again in a mood of creative elation, having recently overcome two years of writers’ block to produce his Piano Concerto No 2. The harmonic and pianistic idiom of that work is strongly reflected in the collection of ten Preludes that make up his Op 23, composed between 1901 and 1903 (beginning with the famous G minor, No 5). If Rachmaninov needed emotional fuel for the soul-states explored in this set, he could have found it easily enough in his own past—in the joys of his privileged upbringing and especially the trauma of being twice uprooted from it (once thanks to the spendthrift habits of his father, then owing to failure in all his exams through laziness). The product of those elements was an intense nostalgia. At the same time, however, he had been building up one of the most formidable piano techniques of his day, thanks to the forcing-house regime of Nikolai Zverev and later the guidance of Rachmaninov’s cousin, the Liszt-pupil Alexander Siloti. And despite a certain reluctance to do his homework, he seems somehow to have acquired equally solid skills as a composer from his lessons with Sergei Taneyev, the greatest Russian master of counterpoint (as Tchaikovsky accurately described him). He was therefore able to fashion textures of maximal grandeur and opulence without resort to facile effect-mongering.

The opening Preludes of Op 23 establish three archetypes for the entire set. The sighing motifs of the slow F sharp minor, No 1, define a tone of melancholy introspection, while the florid arpeggios, indomitable chords and luxuriant final cascades of the fast B flat major, No 2, are redolent of a determination to master any adversity; No 3 in D minor, Tempo di minuetto, mediates between the extremes, its centre of gravity being a restrained neo-classicism that can shade into introversion or extroversion at will. The template established in these three opening Preludes is followed by the next four. No 4 is a Schumannesque song without words (compare the second of Schumann’s Romanzen Op 28), while the famous G minor Alla marcia frames melting lyricism with militant energy; the neo-Baroque phase then has to wait while the sighing lyrical E flat Prelude once again demonstrates Rachmaninov’s mastery of decorative accompaniment. When the maximalized Bachian toccata style of the C minor Prelude No 7 arrives, it does so as a tour de force. The last three Preludes in the Op 23 set are anything but anticlimactic. The A flat major No 8 sticks to its right-hand figuration as tenaciously, yet as resourcefully, as a Chopin Study, while the double notes of the Presto E flat minor are an earthier reincarnation of Liszt’s Feux follets (Will-o’-the-wisps) from the Transcendental Studies. Finally the slow G flat major avoids applause-orientated strategies and instead modestly closes the frame of the opus, reworking the sighs of the opening F sharp minor Prelude.

from notes by David Fanning © 2009

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA66081 track 1
No 1 in F sharp minor: Largo
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-83-08101
Duration
3'37
Recording date
20 April 1983
Recording venue
St George the Martyr, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Rachmaninov: Preludes Op 23 (CDA66081)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: June 1988
    Deletion date: April 2013
    Archive Service
  2. Rachmaninov: The Complete Solo Piano Music (CDS44041/8)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: March 1993
    Deletion date: February 2014
    8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Licensing
1.Film Anna Karenina, directed by Bernard Rose, 1997
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