Tribute to Rachmaninoff - Tsintsabadze, Jordania

Tribute to Rachmaninoff - Tsintsabadze, Jordania

Ars Produktion  ARS 38 365

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Shorena Tsintsabadze (piano)
Russian Federal Orchestra
Vakhtung Jordania (conductor)

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Reviews (1)

Review by Adrian Quanjer - May 6, 2024

Earlier this year ARS Produktion released a Rachmaninoff commemoration SACD with, among others, his ever-so-popular Second Piano Concerto, played by Shorena Tsinsabadze and the Russian Federal Orchestra, Vakhtang Jordania conducting. At the time I decided that yet another Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto was not something people were waiting for. The present high-resolution count stands at 41 for the physical product, to which some will want to add those from download-only sites like Native DSD. Moreover, the orchestra accompanying the soloist, the ‘Russian Federal Orchestra’ did not ring a bell.

There are several reasons to reconsider my initial view. First of all, Shorena Tsinsabadze is a talented pianist with extraordinary skills as I discovered in previous ARS releases. Secondly, Vakhtang Jordania, may not be a household name. Still, the 1983 defected Georgian-born conductor, has built a career in the United States resulting in several recordings for the American label ‘Angelok1 Records’, some with The Russian Federation Orchestra, of which he was Music Director at the same time he returned to his former job of Chief Conductor of the Kharkov (now Kharkiv) Philharmonic, so we learn from to a publication of ‘Musical Life’. Nonetheless, this Russian orchestra remains something of a mystery.

According to her personal remarks in the booklet, Mme Tsinsabadze, aged 18, recorded her debut CD with The Russian Federation Orchestra, conducted by Vakhtang Jordania, playing Rachmaninoff’s Second. Eva Chapman, in her book ‘From Russia to Love: The Life and Music of Viktoria Mullova’ (who defected together with Jordania to the West), mentions the date of the orchestra’s establishment: 1993. That said, research on the internet gave me no further tangible clues. It even may no longer exist. A relevant Wikipedia page was deleted in 2007. If readers do know more about it, please be my guest.

More importantly, Vakhtang Jordania died in 2006 from cancer, leading me to the conclusion that the concerto on this ARS release is not new. Given the fact that this release marks Rachmaninoff’s 150th anniversary, I suppose that it has been taken from Mme Tsinsabadze’s 2000 debut recording as a further token of respect to both Rachmaninoff and the late Maestro Jordani and was added to a newly recorded solo recital given in the Kulturzentrum Immanuel, Wuppertal, Germany. Putting orchestral mystery and a dated concerto aside the latter affirms, as far as I’m concerned, the real interest to venture into this commemorative release.

Next to a remarkably sensitive rendition of the Moments Musicaux Op. 16, the main part of the programme, Shorinea’s recital includes less-familiar pieces, some of which are transcriptions by the Russian Master himself. Her toucher is pleasantly distinct from several of her (male) Moscow study colleagues. More poetic or feminine, if you like, without being a softy. Her approach in this kind of repertoire suits me, and possibly other lovers of Rachmaninoff, better than what we sometimes disrespectfully associate with virtuoso ‘key-bangers’. Rachmaninoff is so much more than a vehicle to show what a soloist is technically capable of doing. It comes to full bloom in Tsinsabatze’s interpretation of the piano transcription of Rachmaninoff’s song ‘Margaritki’ or ‘Daisies’.

A final remark, though, if the concerto is indeed the one recorded in the year 2000, Manfred Schumacher has done a prime job remastering the stereo recording in DSD-surround, something usually left to specialised studios like Emil Berliner’s. In terms of playing, we must, on the other hand, realise that the soloist is an 18-year-old student who is still on the way up.

Giving stars is not something I like to do. The text should suffice. But since I’m required to do so, they are an average of the various elements.

Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France

Copyright © 2024 Adrian Quanjer and


Sonics (Multichannel):

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