09 Rachmanioff GindesRachmaninoff Piano Works
Ian Gindes
Navona Records NV6582 (iangindes.com)

The twin centrepieces of Rachmaninoff Piano Works by American Ian Gindes are selections from the composer’s celebrated Preludes and Études Tableaux. These are complemented by Rachmaninoff’s arrangement of Fritz Kreisler’s Liebeslied and Zoltan Kocsis’ arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s masterwork, the Vocalise Op.34, No.14. The surprise is the finale: Jerry Goldsmith’s Alone in the World arranged by Jed Distler.

Like Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Rachmaninoff’s comprise a sequence of miniatures in every major and minor key and, as with Chopin, the self-imposed constraints inspired some of the composer’s most original ideas. This selection includes the famous C-sharp Minor Prelude Op.3 No.2 as well as a selection of four from Op.23 and one from Op.32. Melody is the less dominant element, for many of these pieces are built upon rhythmic patterns that lead towards the establishment of a melodic pattern reflecting the rhythmic pulse. 

As with the Chopin of the Ballades, Études and Preludes, the Études Tableaux take a motif or a technical challenge as their starting point, and weave poetic musical fabrics from that. Mordant, terse and visionary in their endless chromaticism, luminously simple and spectrally poignant, they are distinguished by their brevity and a new level of virtuoso pianism.

Gindes’ interpretations fall somewhere between Alexis Weissenberg’s punchy sound and Sviatoslav Richter’s tremendous performances. Gindes’ illustrious renditions reveal a visionary glow behind the eloquent, melancholy virtuosic exteriors of these Rachmaninoff masterworks.

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