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Jonathan Woolf
Classical Recordings Quarterly, July 2013

This is the third in Naxos’s series devoted to Rachmaninov’s electric solo piano recordings…

The fearsome contrasts of the Etude-tableau in A minor are presented graphically in an excellent 1925 early electric…the glittering and fleet Moment musical in E flat minor, negotiated with remarkable clarity…The fusion of expressive nobility and technical eloquence is everywhere apparent…

Not only does this disc present one of the summits of pianism on record; but the transfers are excellent. © 2013 Classical Recordings Quarterly

Tim Parry
BBC Music Magazine, May 2013


Wonders galore in Rachmaninov’s playing, beyond its obvious historical importance. Cast-iron technique, proper old-school sense of line and tone colour, and an incomparable rubato. © BBC Music Magazine

Bryce Morrison
Gramophone, January 2013

For many, Rachmaninov was the greatest of all pianists, and here in Ward Marston’s magnificent transfers he is at last given his due in sound. Now we can savour and assess a bronze-like sonority that complemented a no less legendary rhythmic sharpness and an aristocratic sense of line and phrase. And on recordings dating from 1925-42 you hear playing brimming over with a bracing sentiment untouched by sentimentality.

…the third volume of Naxos’s ‘Great Pianists’ Rachmaninov, gives us playing beyond price. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2012

The third volume in Sergey Rachmaninov’s solo piano recordings includes his own works and his arrangements of works by others recorded between 1925 and 1942. From a technical point of view the playing is quite remarkable and shows that element of risk-taking that must have electrified his audiences. He often treats his own works with a degree of rhythmic freedom that many would now consider as going outside of bounds of good taste. Listen to him launch into the central section of the famous C sharp minor Prelude, and remember there was no patching of a few bars in 1928. At the same time you must recall many of the tracks were recorded when he was sixty-seven, a substantial age in 1940, and as a display of sheer brilliance go to track 10, the second of two Etudes-Tableaux, or the death-defying agility of his adaptation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble-bee, while he unleashes flashing hands in the Gopak from Mussorgsky’s Sorochintsky Fair. We find he had an element of the Baroque inside him which comes in the shape of unaffected readings of parts of Bach’s Third Partita, recorded the year before his death in 1943. He also retained a remarkable technique through his later years as shown with the final two tracks, recordings of arrangement of Kreisler’s Liebesfreud, made when he was 52 and then again at 69, the quality of playing being unchanged. Sadly commercial considerations often triumphed over artistic ones, and much of his time in the studio was taken up by salon music. Yet he never leaves you in doubt as to his peerless playing, while Ward Marston’s transfers are another of his masterpieces of restoration. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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