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Cliburn: MacDowell No. 2 / Prokofiev No. 3 Piano Concertos - German RCA LSC-2507

$5.00 USD

RCA (LP)

Jacket VG / LP VG / German pressing

This superb LP from German RCA (LSC-2507, German Teldec Telefunken-Decca pressing, red/silver label, stereo) features Van Cliburn’s magnificent accounts of Edward MacDowell’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor Op. 23 and Serge Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major Op. 26, both recorded with conductor Fritz Reiner and the mighty Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the rich acoustics of Orchestra Hall, Chicago, on 22 October 1960.

This is pianism, conducting – and orchestral playing – at the very highest level, absolutely brilliant, and with sound to match.

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Of the MacDowell the eminent cricit Joan Chissell wrote in her review for the October 1991 issue of The Gramophone:

We're told that it was with MacDowell's Second Piano Concerto in D minor that Van Cliburn made his first professional appearance with an orchestra at the age of 18, some six years before ''vaulting to fame'' as winner of Moscow's first Tchaikovsky Contest in 1958. This recording was made just two years after that when he was still only 26—albeit already two years older than the precociously gifted composer himself at the time of the concerto's composition. Yes, I agree with Roger Fiske (in his review of the catalogue's only other version from Donna Amato and the LPO on Olympia/Complete Record Co, 6/87) that the work lacks an immediately recognizable face of its own. But in its bold scoring and bravura writing for the soloist, it is scarcely less arresting than any of its big romantic rivals—or so it seems in this exhilarating performance. How very good to have it on CD at last and to be reminded of the young Van Cliburn's legendary wrists, fingers and blazing inner fire.”

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Of the Prokofiev the erudite Bryce Morrison wrote in his review for the August 1996 issue of The Gramophone:

Cliburn’s romantic generosity would probably have angered Prokofiev, whose austere performance of his own Third Concerto rejoiced in bleaker, more angular virtues. Yet even he, sarcastic and alert to all forms of excess, would surely have marvelled at the way every note is made audible in his teeming and scintillating score. Given such superb assurance the final variation in the second movement sounds more than ever like two different forms of motion proceeding simultaneously (“like a sprinter viewed from a train window”, as someone once delightfully put it) and, all in all, both performances provide awe-inspiring evidence of Cliburn’s once towering genius.”

 

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Both recordings were produced by Richard Mohr and engineered by Lewis Layton. There are insightful liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket in English (by John Briggs), as well as in German and French (by H.K.). The striking cover portrait of Cliburn was executed by Boris Chaliapin (“N.Y. 1960”).

CONDITION:

The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.


The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is bumping/wear at corners, shelfwear, and some discoloration. However, there are no seamsplits, bends, or owners' markings and the jacket remains perfectly solid, bright, glossy, and very attractive in appearance – overall, a very good collector's copy.

The condition of the LP itself is VERY GOOD. Though there is surface noise and occasional tics, in general playback remains quite fine. However, those wanting a flawless or near-MINT copy are kindly advised to look elsewhere. Overall, this rates as a very good collector's copy.

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