I have the original issue, and also have the cd that came afterwards. The vinyl is still the winner.
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To Buconero117 - congrats on that! You are lucky!
To Rtilden - need to check out the Chesky one, thanks for the info. I did listen to Rachmaninoff's Concerto 3 same label and that one seemed to me a better one. May be because I purchased N 2 used hence the different sound quality though the record itself seems fine still glossy.
Having tired of the safest recommendation, Previn/Ashkenazy, I finally settled on the Rubinstein/Reiner. From '56 I believe? Not a blockbusting recording, but gorgeous, silky strings, very sensible presentation or orchestra and soloist and Rubinstein IMHO strikes a perfect balance between poise and indulgence. Wild is shockingly detached and expedient, (but listen to Rachmaninoff, even more so!) Janis similar but less-so, Cliburn is tasteful but unimaginative. Katchen/Solti so feverish as to be distracting. I find Richter a little "fussy" too, must "something be said" even in the climactic reprise of the Finale's theme? Then there's Ashkenazy/Kondrashin: still a little too much on the "poised" part of the meter for my taste.
Jdaniel13 makes some educated points in his comparisons. to me, the Rubinstein version is, indeed, very nice. I will place a finer point on my reasons for preferring Wild: Rubinstein's performance/style is worthy of teaching to a graduate level class of piano musicians. Wild is the guest musician who shows up to class, places the class textbook in the trash and demonstrates to the students what is possible years beyond graduation, after they have created some of their own rules! All kidding aside, this is some of my most favorite music, and all of the named performances are noteworthy. To me, Wild/Horenstein capture both the full romanticism and the full energy of my senses better than the rest. In other words, more goose bumps. Thanks for raising the topic for discussion.
Rtilden: Thank you for your reply, I had a few "glasses" and in retrospect wasn't as articulate as I wanted to be. : ) I wish I could agree with you, but there's a place we can meet in middle, but more on that in a moment. IMHO, Wild doesn't stop to smell one rose in the 2nd. Moreover: During the Rhapsody he blasts through the 18th variation so fast that even the strings--upon their entry-- have to take a moment to catch up.
That said, I'm glad I didn't close my mind to Wild: I've just acquainted myself with his Chopin 1st PC and love his ultra-sensitive handling of those two quiet poetic stretches in the 1st mov't. Wild is also more indulgent than most (!) in the more ecstatic outbursts of the Rach 3rd. Based upon his 2nd, who woulda thunk it?
No worries though, having heard Rachmaninoff's own performance of his 2nd (with Ormandy) on RCA, you and Wild have his blessing. I'm the odd man out. : )
Hey, Jdaniel, I just wanted to have a bit of fun with this one, as I rarely post here. I think we are not that far apart. I cut my teeth on the Wild performance, and that must have a lot to do with it. He does seem to rush in parts and take a few liberties, but after we hear Rachmaninov himself, all is forgiven. One of my buddies said: 'God, if I could only play like that for five minutes, they could cut my hands off, and I would be OK!' Poetically speaking, I agree! BTW, another discussion board favored the Lugansky version. I had not heard it before, but it was very elegantly played, and by quite a young man. Those concertos allow quite a heavy hand on the keyboard, and I do prefer a heavier hand than Lugansky's style. Horowitz also was quite good on #3. Thanks again for the opinions.
Any time! I'm on the lookout for Simon/Slatkin Rachmaninoff on Vox with St Louis, having enjoyed Slatkin's Vox box of the Rachmaninoff Symphonies. They're not "high voltage" performances, but often lovely. What really caught my ear was the sound quality, since these sets were recorded by the Elite team, which did the Ravel Vox box. Now it's my turn: anyone heard it?
It's very unusual that I would find myself in near total agreement with someone regarding a half dozen(!) performances of the same piece---in this instance, the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto. But, that's exactly where I stand with Jdaniel, especially in response to his comments on RCA's Rubinstein/Reiner recording from the early stereo era.