Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos Complete, Paganini Rhapsody (arr. for Two Pianos)

ラフマニノフのピアノ協奏曲第2番(1901年)、第3番(1909 年)はともに現在でもこの分野における最も人気のあるレパートリーだ。ラフマニノフのあまりにも美しく悲哀感あふれる息の長い旋律は多くの人を魅了し、技巧的に も高度で精緻なピアニズムとも相まって時代的な束縛を受けない名作として愛されている。特に第3番はオーケストレーションも素晴らしく、ピアニスト・コンポーザーの余芸を遥かに凌ぐ、正に作曲家による「ピアノ交響曲」と呼べる作品である。ピアノとオーケストラの一体感という点で、ピアノ協奏曲第4番(1927) は、最も完成していると言えるだろうが演奏される機会は少ない。初演は作曲家本人によるピアノとストコフスキー指揮フィラデルフィア・オーケストラであったが、聴衆は非常に落胆したようだ。1934年に「パガニーニの主題にによる狂詩曲」で大成功を収めても、ラフマニノフの創造性は憂鬱のもやから解放されなかっただろう。この主題を有名にしたのはリストやブラームスであり、ラフマニノフが新しい音楽を生み出していないという問題は引き続き残るからだ。
これらの協奏曲には、ラフマニノフ本人による「2台ピアノ用編曲」がある。この楽譜は BOOSEY&HAWKES 等から出版されており、ピアニストの練習 用または、愛好家が楽譜を見ながら音楽を聴くといった用途が一般的なのだろう。第二ピアノに関してはオーケストラを再現するというよりも「オーケストラのスケッチ用」として書かれたようで、2台ピアノのために作曲された「組曲第1番、第2番」などとは明らかにレベルが違う。しかしこの楽譜が提供する「音」を実際に聴いた人が、果たしてどれほどいるだろうか。それは、オーケストラの大迫力を取り除いた「芯」の部分が浮き彫りにされ、ラフマニノフが音楽をどのように組み立てたかがよく分かるというものだ。
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 & No.3 (arranged for Two Pianos)

Rachmaninoff composed Piano Concerto No.1 with the Work No. of 1 during his studies (1890 - 91) but drastically reorganized it in 1917. In the same year, Rachmaninoff, who had emigrated to avoid the Russian Revolution, moved to New York. He was dominated by homesickness and melancholy being separated from his native country and was only able to produce 6 works.

Even now Piano Concertos No.2 (1901) and No.3 (1909) are the most popular works in repertoires in this field; however, Arnold Schonberg and Rachmaninoff's Moscow Conservatory classmate, Alexandre Scriabine were charting a new era in music while Rachmaninoff is often described as hardheaded with absolutely no intention of progressing from the old Tchaikovsky-like style. However, Rachmaninoff fascinates many people with his long melodies of extreme beauty and mournfulness and these works are loved as masterpieces that are unshackled by time coupled with polished and highly subtle pianism. The orchestration of No.3 is particularly magnificent, surpassing by far the dabbling of a composer-pianist and it is a work that can be called a piano symphony by a true composer.

Piano Concerto No.4 (1927) can be said to be the most complete from the point of a sense of unity between the piano and the orchestra but seldom has the opportunity to be performed. Its first performance saw the composer himself at the piano with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski but it seems that the audience was extremely disappointed. This probably brought back bitter memories of his youth such as those of. Tthe first performance of Symphony No.1 (1897) which was given harsh reviews by critics, causing him to develop depressive tendencies, lose his confidence and to become incapable of producing works. In 1934, the “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” achieved huge success but Rachmaninoffs creativity was probably not liberated from the fog of depression. It was F. Liszt and J. Brahms who made this theme famous because the issue of Rachmaninoff not being able to produce new music still remained.

1. Piano Concerto No.1 F sharp minor, Op.1: I. Vivace
2. Piano Concerto No.1 F sharp minor, Op.1: II Andante
3. Piano Concerto No.1 F sharp minor, Op.1: III Allegro vivac
4. Piano Concerto No.2 C minor Op.18: I. Moderato
5. Piano Concerto No.2 C minor Op.18: II Adagio sostenuto
6. Piano Concerto No.2 C minor Op.18: III Allegro scherzando
7. Piano Concerto No.3 D minor Op.30: I. Allegro ma non tanto
8. Piano Concerto No.3 D minor Op.30: II. Intermezzo
9. Piano Concerto No.3 D minor Op.30: III. Finale-alla breve
10. Piano Concerto No.4 G minor, Op.40: I. Allegro vivace
11. Piano Concerto No.4 G minor, Op.40: II. Largo
12. Piano Concerto No.4 G minor, Op.40: III. Allegro vivace
13. Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op.42

Please listen audio sample.

No. 1 and No. 4, Paganini Rapthody

No. 2 and No. 3