Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 3

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Rachmaninov
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 3
PERFORMER: Lilya Zilberstein (piano)Berlin PO/Claudio Abbado
CATALOGUE NO: 439 930-2 DDD
Lilya Zilberstein was born in 1965 and began her studies under Ada Traub at the Gnessin Institute in Moscow at the age of six. She has the stamina required for the hammered chords in the peroration of the Third Concerto’s finale and the dexterity to cope with the more mercurial fingerwork. Hers is a no-nonsense approach. She knows just how she wants the music to go, and the orchestra must stay with her. Not that it always does. In places where solo instruments or sections accompany the piano, they’re sometimes not quite together – or, at least, not at the beginning of the phrase (witness track 5 from 5:27 mins, and track 6 from 7:11, for instance), and at times there’s an element of living dangerously. But I’m not sure that this is a bad thing in a concerto that so embodies the struggle between gargantuan forces.

Advertisement

The Berlin strings are incomparable, and Zilberstein is as good at milking the dark side of the drama as she is at relaxing into the less intense moments. Like Rachmaninov himself, in his classic recording, she takes the thinner, less tumultuous cadenzas. There’s formidable competition in this repertoire, of course, but this release is worth considering. Wadham Sutton