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CD Review

20th-Century Piano Concertos

Benno Moiseiwitsch, piano
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Malcolm Sargent
* Philharmonia Orchestra/Hugo Rignold
Guild GHCD2326 73m ADD Rec: 1955

Benno Moiseiwitsch was a much-loved pianist and these three recordings exemplify the magnificence of this legendary artist in his prime. The Delius concerto is quite a rarity and under Sargent, the work flows quite magically especially in the big First movement.

Rachmaninoff is naturally a staple part of any self-respecting pianist's repertoire and Moiseiwitsch is no exception in serving the composer with aplomb. The Paganini Rhapsody is wonderful especially the famous variation 22 which fairly makes one cry and the final concluding rush to the finish brings goose bumps to the flesh. The Second Piano Concerto is similarly barnstorming and under Rignold, the work receives one of its finest outings.

The live recordings from the Proms are judiciously balanced although there is some cavernous effect which is only to be expected. The studio recording is a bit dry on the edges but otherwise the balance is very good. An essential CD for the collector of rare piano recordings.

Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech