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    Lugansky plays Rachmaninov Piano Sonatas

    NIKOLAI Lugansky is one of the great Rachmaninov pianists of his generation, and his new recording features breathtaking performances of the composer's two Piano Sonatas. The second is by far the better known, and Lugansky's performance is launched with a thrilling plunge to the depths of the bass register. It's a fantastic rendition marked by Lugansky's intellectual mastery of the structure of the music and profound understanding of its dark emotional contours; the slow movement is a haunting masterpiece here, while the finale is a demonstration of glittering virtuosity with no scrambling, just lucid articulation. The First Sonata exists in two versions: Rachmaninov left the choice of which version to the pianist. (Maybe his dinner was on the table.) Lugansky plays a hybrid, leaning more towards the first (more difficult and lengthy) version. There's a Faustian theme, with some characterisation of the main figures, but frankly, in this glorious performance, which demonstrates how underrated the sonata is, I prefer to listen in the abstract.

    A Magnificent New Symphonic Recording

    ELGAR Enigma Variations
    VAUGHAN WILLIAMS The Wasps / Greensleeves
    A new symphonic tour-de-force from the Kansas City Symphony! This colorful, beloved English music has been captured in brilliant HDCD sound by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Keith O. Johnson
    The Kansas City Symphony garnered tremendous critical acclaim for their first project on Reference Recordings, incidental music for The Tempest by Sullivan and Sibelius (Shakespeare's Tempest, RR-115). Their second release on RR, Britten's Orchestra, received a GRAMMY for Best Surround Sound for both the engineer and producer, as well as rave reviews everywhere! (Britten's Orchestra, RR-120 is now unfortunately out of print).
    Conductor is Michael Stern, the son of famed violinist Isaac Stern. Now in his eighth season as music director, the Kansas City Symphony has been much praised for its remarkable artistic growth and development since his tenure began. He is also the founder of the Iris Chamber Orchestra in Memphis, Tennessee, and in addition to RR, has recorded for Sony, Hyperion, Denon, Arabesque and Naxos. Producer David Frost has won Grammy awards in 2005,2009 and 2011 for Classical Producer of the Year. He has produced a large roster of stars and Grammy-winning titles.

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