P0959. SERGEI RACHMANINOFF: Eleven Piano Pieces (all Played by the Composer); Carnaval (Schumann). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-019, recorded 1940 & 1929. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Here you will hear ardor, fire, passion, and ecstasy; it abounds in rubato and nuances. No phrase is simply played straight. Everything is punctuated. It holds back; it springs forward. This is real musical phrasing. It is quite unlike the straight-ahead, uninflected approach we are used to. It reminds us that the romantic era is far in the past. We don’t do this kind of thing any more. I doubt whether we can. It is utterly unnatural to us. But you have to hear it to understand what this music meant to its composer. We live in a strange time. Musicians go out of their way to make baroque and classical music sound the way they think it must have sounded to its composers, but there is no respect for romanticism and the way that sounded to the composers. To hear that you must listen to the romantics themselves—and, like Rachmaninoff, a few lived long enough to make recordings. He was a giant of a pianist and one of the last great romantic composers. I urge you to hear how he played his own music.”
- Donald R. Vroon, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 2012
“…we have been left in the recordings of Sergei Rachmaninoff a bequest that is a historically significant musical experience of unique power, beauty and logic.”
– Gregor Benko, RACHMANINOFF ON RECORDS
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent’s natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011