Alexandre Tharaud – Tharaud plays Rachmaninov

French pianist Alexandre Tharaud is a musician with a diverse repertoire. He’s interpreted composers’ works from across The Common Practice Period. From Bach and Scarlatti of the Baroque era to Schubert and Chopin of the late Classical and Romantic period, he’s emulated some the greatest musical masters in history. With the credentials of a virtuoso, Tharaud now takes on the works of Rachmaninov. He performs the “Morceaux de Fantaisie” and the Waltz and Romance of “Two Pieces for Six Hands” from 1891 and 1892 respectively, around the same time Rachmaninov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory. Alongside these, he gives us the popular Piano Concerto No. 2 of 1901.

Together with Russian conductor Alexander Vedernikov and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Tharaud delivers the Piano Concerto No.2 masterfully. Furthermore, reports suggest that while recording the acclaimed composition at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Tharaud displayed terrific musicianship as he remained calm and collected even during the most energetic of crescendos. This certainly comes through on the recordings on which he delivers Rachmaninov’s work with seemingly effortless grace.

This is another demonstration of Tharaud’s undeniable skill at the piano.

However, while the proverbial filling of this sandwich is the “Fantasy Pieces”, I feel as though what precedes and succeeds them should swap places. The “2 Pieces for 6 Hands” would be better suited as an introduction to Tharaud’s album. This would enable the project to end on the triumphant vigour of the Piano Concerto. As for Romance No.14, it strikes me as out of place – particularly with the operatic vocals of Sabine Devieilhe – it interrupts the flow of the album.

This is another demonstration of Tharaud’s undeniable skill at the piano. For that, this collection can’t be faulted. The let down is in the order of play – the power of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic should be left to the end and built up to with a steady progression which the other compositions could easily provide.

 

By Will Hunt


Noteworthy Details

Marvellous display of skill from Tharaud
Romance No.14 feels out of place here
Piano Concerto No. 2 should have closed the album

Rating

7/10


Tracklist
1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18: I. Moderato (feat. Alexander Verdernikov & The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra)
2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18: II. Adagio sostenuto (feat. Alexander Verdernikov & The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra)
3. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18: III. Allegro scherzando (feat. Alexander Verdernikov & The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra)
4. 5 Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3: No. 1, Élégie
5. 5 Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3: No. 2, Prélude
6. 5 Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3: No. 3, Mélodie
7. 5 Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3: No. 4, Polichinelle
8. 5 Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3: No. 5, Sérénade
9. 14 Romances, Op. 34: No. 14, Vocalise (feat. Sabine Devieilhe)
10. 2 Pieces for 6 Hands, TN ii/22: No. 2, Romance (feat. Aleksandar Madzar & Alexander Melnikov)
11. 2 Pieces for 6 Hands, TN ii/22: No. 1, Waltz (feat. Aleksandar Madzar & Alexander Melnikov)