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Anna Fedorova completes her Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos cycle, performs extensively around the world, raises significant funds for humanitarian aid and continues her support of young musicians.
Anna Fedorova is up there with the busiest classical musicians of the world, having played 125 concerts in the past twelve months. The opening concert of the Verbier Festival with the Verbier Festival Orchestra under Gianandrea Noseda, a solo recital at La Roque d’Anthéron, a tour across Europe and the US as the soloist with the Ukrainian Freedom Tour, a critically acclaimed performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits at the Barbican, and… 114 more concerts.
But that is not all. Anna Fedorova recorded Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto in November 2022, was featured as the cover story of KLM’s Holland Herald, Pianist Magazine UK, Pianist Magazine NL, Magazin Pianist, and Luister Magazine, as well as founding and opening a brand new music academy for young and talented piano & string students in the Netherlands: the Davidsbündler Music Academy in The Hague.
Now, in 2023 – the year of Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday – Anna Fedorova concludes her cycle of Rachmaninoff’s complete works for piano and orchestra on Channel Classics. She embarked on this journey three years ago, together with the Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen, conductor Modestas Pitrenas and Producer & Recording Engineer Jared Sacks. Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto will complete the cycle.
Anna Fedorova says “As I am writing this, we are almost one year into the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Many people think we should not perform Russian music for a while, but I find performing his music very important nowadays, not just because his music is so beautiful, powerful and emotionally fulfilling, but also because of his story: he himself was a victim of the Russian state. During the 1917 revolution, he was forced to flee his home country with his family and then spent the rest of his life in the USA. His music is a glorious part of humanity’s shared heritage and we need Rachmaninoff by our side fighting for life, humanity and all that is good in this world!
Rachmaninoff’s Third piano concerto is one of the grandest piano concertos ever written. It has incredible compelling power and demands mobilisation of all the physical, creative and emotional abilities from both soloist and orchestra. Some moments feel as if you are climbing a mountain, but then always comes the moment of reaching the highest peak with an incredible sensation of breathtaking freedom, power and the feeling of wings growing behind your back! At the same time this composition is very romantic and intimate by its nature, sort of a lyrical confession from the composer.
The solo piano piece The Messenger was written by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, soon after his wife passed away. In the silence he kept hearing this simple pure Mozartian melody, it was coming to him as a message from above. The Messenger is a musical meditation which connects our world with heaven. It is a thought for my country and fellow Ukrainians and an eternal message of light, peace and hope for the future.”
Anna Fedorova, Piano
Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen
Modestas Pitrenas, Conductor
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:08:13
|Analog to Digital Converter|
Horus, Merging Technologies at DSD 256
Van den Hul, Exclusive use of Van den Hul 3T cables
Brüel & Kjær 4006, Schoeps
Grimm Audio LS1
|Original Recording Format|
Rens Heijnis, Custom Design
Tonhalle Theater in St. Gallen, Switzerland during November 2022
|Release Date||May 5, 2023|
BBC Radio 3 Record Review
The expressive playing and the sense of partnership is undeniably effective. Fedorova is prepared to take time to allow the lines to blossom and Rachmaninoff’s voice to speak.
With this release of the Third Piano Concerto, Anna Fedorova’s wonderous traversal of the four Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos reaches a triumphant conclusion. It is a scintillating, powerful, gorgeously emotional performance.
Deeply emotional, highly communicative, technically superb—Anna Fedorova consistently stuns me, charms me, enthralls me with her performances. And yet she plays with such absolute humility that it is always the composer’s music, the composer’s communication, that I hear in her performances, not Anna. She is the pure servant of the music, and as such she shines as a hero in my eyes and in my musical enjoyment.
The piano scoring in this Concerto No. 3 is dense. So often I hear it as a muddle in many recordings. Not so here. Anna Fedorova unwraps, articulates, and makes clear the most densely scored of piano sections. She brings a delicate, nuanced touch to certain passages that is so frequently lost. Listen, for example, to the Intermezzo at about 8:45-10:00 where she delivers a dancing, shimmering articulation of the notes that breathes life and meaning into the music.
Her delivery is not bravura for it’s own sake. It’s is never a matter of “look at me, hear what I can do” – it is always “listen to what Rachmaninoff is sharing with us.” Simply listen to the opening two minutes of the Finale. Where other pianists whip this to a frenzy of flash and power, Fedorova brings emotional insight. And the delicate fillips of notes beginning at 3:35 of this Finale are just a delightful bit of discovery – a sharing of wry insight. One can almost see Rachmaninoff winking at us.
For me, this concerto has always been the most challenging of Rachmaninoff’s piano concertos. Anna Fedorova’s performance brings a wonderful awakening of understanding about this work. With great phrasing (observe the subtle hesitation ahead of certain notes), fluidity and joie de vivre, she makes so much more sense of this work than I’ve heard from so many other performances. Brava!
The sound quality, as heard in the DXD and DSD 256 editions of the album to which I am listening, is yet another triumph by Jared Sacks. (Beware the 44kHz edition, which has nowhere near the clarity or resolution. Don’t blame me if you listen to a CD or some streaming iteration and can’t figure out what I’m talking about.)
Jared’s recordings have a consistent signature sound quality over many years and many recordings: clear, detailed, transparent, and well balanced between solo instrument and orchestra. All recorded in acoustically sympathetic venues with microphones judiciously placed to allow the harmonics of the instruments to bloom and coalesce, capturing the sounds of real acoustic instruments in real natural acoustic spaces. Simply a delight to hear every time.
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