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Rachmaninov Plays Rachmaninov (The Ampico Piano Recordings)

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Customer Reviews

Fabulous Reproduction from Piano Rolls

Just to clarify, this is not a recording from the 20's. These performances are reproduced from impressions made on piano rolls. The impressions were made on a special piano (Ampico) that captured Rachmaninoff's playing. The rolls are played back on mechanical player pianos and that's how these reproductions were recorded in 1979 with modern equipment (hiss free). Nonetheless, this is very close to Rachmaninoff's actual performance. Worth every penny!

comparison to old version of the same CD

In response to another review here, they have most likely cleaned up this recording; the original recording didn't sound this good. I bought this CD, or one very like it (cover and everything, if memory serves), around ten years ago and already had it ripped to iTunes; but I ended up buying it here, too, because this version is cleaner and has more tracks. Comparing the tracks that are the same songs, there is a sort of tape hiss sound in the other version. This version (on the Apple Music Store) is noticeably better -- sounds very clean, virtually no noise, and any remastering doesn't seem to have hurt the clarity of the piano. However, when comparing more closely, this is actually a different performance! (Incidentally, my CD was apparently copyright 1993; this claims to be 1990... Maybe I need to dig out the original CD.) Anyway, this version (on the AMS) is definitely cleaner sound. However, leaving the topic of sound quality and talking entirely about the performance, there are a couple little stylistic quirks that I think I like better in the other version. Using the obvious, Prelude in C Sharp Minor, as an example, this version is a bit smoother and more refined, but I actually like the sort of chaotic element thrown into the other version. I'm sure he's still in complete control, but the slow parts are more hesitant (which makes it more emotionally convincing), and fast parts sound a bit more frantic, almost desperate. All of it sounds a bit more passionate, like he's playing about something that his life depends on. Don't worry; the recording here is still similar and much more passionate and impressive than recordings by other artists. Don't hesitate to buy this version. It's really great to hear Rachmaninoff himself play his music. Again using Prelude as an example, most artists play the "good bits" too slowly by comparison. Listening to the Rachmaninoff performance almost exclusively over the last decade, I've become very spoiled. Now I'm very happy to have a cleaner version, another performance, and more tracks. For those of us who love to hear good fast playing, "The Flight of the Bumble-Bee" is a really nice one to hear him play. "Liebesfreud" is very impressive, too. And of course he played slow passages well, too; very smooth. The man was a truly amazing pianist. The tracks on my store-bought CD, in order, are the following tracks (though possibly all from a different performance) from the version here on the Apple Music Store: #2, #3, #4, #12 (labeled "Polka De V.R." on the CD), #6, #8; and then three tracks not on this version, by the London Symphony Orchestra (Sir Eugene Goosens, conductor), all part of the "Symphonic Dances": "Non Allegro", "Andante Con Moto (Tempo Di Valse)", and "Lento Assai (Allegro Vivace)".

This is not a recording from the 1920s

It is a recording of a recording of Rachmaninov. Rachmaninovs notes were captured on a piano role and recorded when replayed in the 1990s. They were then recorded at studio quality. You are listening to Rachmaninov in Stero. These Ampico recordings are the best in existence of Rachmaninov.

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