Rachmaninov - Piano Sonatas Nos 1 & 2, Preludes | Chandos CHAN10816

Rachmaninov - Piano Sonatas Nos 1 & 2, Preludes


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Label: Chandos

Cat No: CHAN10816

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 28th April 2014



Xiayin Wang (piano)


Rachmaninov, Sergei

Piano Sonata no.1 in D minor, op.28
Piano Sonata no.2 in B flat minor, op.36 (version 2)
Preludes (10), op.23
» no.4 in D major
» no.5 in G minor
» no.6 in E flat major


Xiayin Wang (piano)


Xiayin Wang presents her second disc of piano works by Rachmaninov, playing the two piano sonatas alongside three of the Op.23 Preludes. She impressed with the first volume, Gramophone remarking that it featured ‘playing of an awesome clarity and poise’ (Gramophone Choice).

Piano Sonata No.1 from 1908 was originally inspired by Goethe’s Faust, and follows the model of Eine Faust-Symphonie by Liszt. Although Rachmaninov abandoned any explicit references soon after starting the Sonata, the influence of Liszt’s work can be heard in its grand three-movement structure and complex emotional trajectory.

The symphonic proportions of the first sonata contrast with the compact 1931 revision of Piano Sonata No.2, which Xiayin Wang performs here. Rachmaninov cut some 120 bars from the original as well as toning down some virtuosic extravagances and creating clearer textures. Despite this apparent modesty, the rhapsodic expression and emotional breadth so characteristic of Rachmaninov are abundant in the sonata.

Three miniature masterpieces from Rachmaninov’s first, Op.23 set of preludes complete the disc. No.4 in D major is a pure Andante cantabile while No.5, one of Rachmaninov’s best known works, is a striding march. No.6 in E flat major offers another reverie which effectively returns us to the calm of the D major prelude.

Gramophone Editor's Choice

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