How to Build a Classical CD Collection

15. Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 / Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1

The world of the romantic piano concerto owes much to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, the latter a formidable pianist well able to tackle the technical difficulties and bravura of his own four concertos His second piano concerto came after a period of composer's block, after the failure of his first symphony, conducted by Glazunov, whose wife later alleged that he was not sober at the time. Tchaikovsky had taught at Moscow Conservatory, where Rachmaninov later studied. His first piano concerto, once almost too popular, with its massive opening chords, an afterthought suggested by another, was completed in 1875 and first performed in Boston the same year. Both concertos pit piano against orchestra in feats of technical and musical heroism.

Recommended recording
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 with Jeno Jandó and the Budapest Symphony Orchestra under Gysrgy Lehel. Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 with Joseph Banowetz and the Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra under Ondrej Lenárd. Naxos 8.553269

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