Dmitry Rachmanov leaning on the grand piano

Review Quotes

'SINGING'

"Rachmanov's playing showed a complete emotional understanding of some of the more difficult pieces of the Romantic movement…he should be headed for an exciting career in the concert house…[he] played with a fine singing tone. His virtuoso technique brought it together beautifully… a real tour de force…"

The News and Courier (Charleston SC)

'DRAMATIC'

"Dmitry Rachmanov … played the music of five composers with tightly wound energy … [and] grand dramatic style. He gave three Rachmaninoff Preludes nice shadings of color, and the gears of Prokofiev's Sonata No. 6 were made to grind powerfully and shine with the appropriate industrial gleam."

Bernard Holland, The New York Times

'NATURAL'

"Dmitry Rachmanov… has plenty of interesting musical ideas and a technique that is sizable. These works are by turns luminous, restless and ferocious, and Mr. Rachmanov followed their thread with a natural power and fluidity when his interpretive notions led him to push his technique to its limits, he did so unreservedly…[his] sense of color and contrast carried the evening."

Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

'RIVETING'

"Weill Recital Hall was, literally, packed to the rafters for the impressive recital of Dmitry Rachmanov… [who] decidedly merited his large and appreciative audience. I would wager that Rachmanov's musical and pianistic idol is the great Sviatoslav Richter… the assertive physical power of Rachmanov's pianistic and interpretive approach… are, recognizably, influenced by the Soviet master's titanic, intense style. His account of the gargantuan Beethoven sonata [No 29, Op. 106] was entirely praiseworthy. Here, the outlines were firm and resolute, the musical progress, both muscular and goal directed. The enigmatic Scherzo was wonderfully well done - its ungainly swells scrupulously heeded; the chaotic transition back to the Scherzo proper from the weird central Trio, both diabolic and sardonically humorous. I also admire the way Rachmanov sustained the huge Adagio, pacing it with cogency and direction, but also investing it with rumination and velvety, hushed sonority. As for the Fuga, its preparation was riveting and the various phases of its evolution had brisling intensity, reaching a real sense of climax. Rachmanov is an artist to watch very closely"

Harris Goldsmith, New York Concert Review

'EXQUISITE'

"From the very beginning, the Mozart Variations established the candidate's poise with an exquisite technique…[his] delivery is steady in a perfect way and the drive is imperative. The Fifth Sonata by Scriabin is revealed to have an explosive pianistic texture - the respirations, contrasts and outbursts being organized with implacable rectitude."

La Libre Belgique

'GIFTED'

"The audience, largely Russian, seemed appreciative, and with good reason, for Mr. Rachmanov is in addition a suave and gifted pianist. He brought considerable color and focus to the individual works…Indeed, his playing was almost everywhere admirable. Gentle moments, sometimes finicky, were more often fetching. And he mustered big technique when necessary."

James Oestreich, The New York Times

'INDISPUTABLE'

"From the first measures of his Mozart, Dmitry Rachmanov… has shown himself an indisputable musician. With the Scriabin Sonata No. 5 he revealed the flame that burns in him; now dreaming and then diabolical, he translates all the fluctuations of this moving score."

Charles Philippon, Le Soir ( Brussels)

'AMAZING'

"Rachmanov's rendition of Pasternak's Sonata was absolutely amazing…[he] did not only an excellent job of untangling and pulling the major themes of the sonata far enough out from the piece that the audience could recognize them, but he also brought them to life and supported them with the many layers of harmonies which remained underneath."

Middlebury Campus News (Vermont)

'IMPRESSIVE'

"[At the Piano Teachers Congress of New York International Piano Competition Winners Concert] Dmitry Rachmanov performed a Haydn Sonata in G Minor that came as a breath of clean air…and then returned with an impressive reading of Schumann's glorious Symphonic Etudes, impressive both intellectually and musically."

Byron Belt, New York Newsday

'THRILLING'

"The 'Emperor' Concerto was played with extraordinary clarity and radiance of tone. His technical display was thrilling. Perfectly controlled trills beginning at forte just gradually dissipated into the air. Whether moving rapidly up and down the keyboard in fierce octaves or articulating wicked left-hand triplets against right-hand 16ths, or just playing lyrically, Rachmanov showed an easy musicality,...a lovely feeling for piano sonority and the cleanest of techniques."

The Oak Ridger (Tennessee)

'SOULFUL'

"Thunder was present in the sweeping B-flat Major [Rachmaninoff Prelude], but, despite all the notes, Rachmanov kept the skies clear… Obviously he has a powerhouse left hand… and he has the ability to create lyrical lines, soulful but not sentimental. His great moment came with the B minor Prelude, romantically felt, classically controlled. This was Rachmaninoff and Rachmanov at their best."

Charles Staff, The Indianapolis News

'DAZZLING'

"Rachmanov's impressive talent is hard to define. Certainly a brilliant pianist endowed with a precise yet dazzling technique and strict and absolute respect for the text. Playing that is powerful and at the same time subtle, the palette of nuances rich enough to give a sense of diversity but above all a large sense of structure. Thus, in the scintillating suite "Bunte Blatter," he created a Schumann of passionate enchantment, but without affectation, in a perfect balance between tender confidences and tempestuous outbursts. Rachmanov seems to have been born to elucidate the universe of Scriabin… Rachmanov's touch, exquisite sense of colors, rhythm, and drive all brought out his enigmatic and flaming music. Powerfully persuasive, this was a magnificent interpretation."

Aurore Busser, Nice Matin (France )

'STUNNING'

"Rachmanov's precise articulations and expressive phrasing of Mozart's Rondo in A minor, K 511 seemed to entrance the audience…[his] control of the dynamic nuances in Beethoven's two movement sonata was impressive… his stunning technique permitted him to glide through every phrase without straining… Rachmanov played five Etudes from Scriabin's Op. 8 with a keen sense of their poetic expressiveness…[he] deftly controlled every jolt and spasm of the musical eruption. Rachmanov played this final set with a grand bravura."

Ralph Blauvelt, Rockland Journal-News ( New York)

'MAGIC'

"… the unrelenting hour-and-a-half was a textbook of how well thorny music can be tackled. Rachmanov negotiated the prickles and nettles without a slip of the finger or mishap of the mind. He cleared each high bar of the sprint with an athlete's confidence…he spun gossamer webs of sound… Magic truly took over in the thrilling, trilling transition to the strict fugue, taken at fingerbreaking speed and held heroically together by dint of sheer concentration. This was a deeply rewarding, no-nonsense recital."

Faubion Bowers, The American Record Guide

'OPERATIC'

"Mr. Rachmanov's spirited, exceptionally lyrical Beethoven playing compares well to the leaden, academic readings of so many pianists who confuse the literal for the literary… Buoyant and suave, his Hammerklavier purls along unimpeded by any musical footdragging…His operatic Beethoven is a drama that exploits musical vibrancy and conflicts"

John Bell Young,The American Record Guide - 1999

'AWE INSPIRING'

"Rachmanov's Sunday recital was…a thing of virtuosity, concept and total professionalism. His big program opened with an elegant performance of Mozart's Sonata in A Minor, K. 301 - which amounts to Mozart's "Appassionata." That was followed by Schumann's "Carnaval," Op. 9, Tchaikovsky's Theme and (13) Variations in F Major, finale to the composer's Six morceaux, Op. 19. For a finale, Rachmanov presented a sensational account of Rachmaninoff's flashy Variations of a theme of Corelli, Op. 42. It simply cannot be better played. The entire program was first rate, but the finale was awe inspiring. The notes, yes, but the depth of concept was Rachmanov's main attraction. Tempos were right on the button - dynamics beautifully observed, timbre varied to the need of each composition - and his technical dexterity used only to serve the scores. The Mozart, for example, is uncommonly passionate among his piano works. Rachmanov filled that need with fire aplenty, but with a blaze always kept in check. This Sonata is passionate, yes, but it also needs to remain true to Mozart inner graces. That balance is tricky, and Rachmanov managed this with keen intelligence. When necessary, Rachmanov also delighted in the pixy elements of the other three composers. The playful shyness in Schumann's Eusebius or the swooning flow of his homage to Chopin went well, as did the heroics in the finale march… Tchaikovsky's set of variations on a tiny folksy tune, seemed programmed for curio value. It's a very rudimentary set of figuration studies over a tune which hardly varies at all. Still, Rachmanov made a good case for it, making it sound more important than it truly is. Based on Corelli's chaconne on the famous La Folia, a tune that's been used for variations since the 15th Century, Rachmaninoff's 1931 set constitutes his farewell to solo piano writing. All sorts of composers used La Folia, from the famous, such as Bach, Liszt and Respighi, to obscure figures, such as D'Anglebert, Alessandro Scarlatti or Gretry. But Rachmaninoff took first place at table with his set, which is possibly his finest masterpiece. I have heard performances as fine as Rachmanov's in the past, but none better."

Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Classical Voice - 01/14-16/2005

VIRTUOSIC

"Rachmanov delivered a virtuosic yet sensitive performance of "Carnaval," Schumann's descriptive musically portrayal of a carnival. Playful at times, dark at times, and everything in between, this can also be seen as a metaphor for life. Rachmanov played with clarity, power and sensitivity. In particular, he used a very expressive rubato - subtly manipulating the rhythm - for a deep emotional effect, particularly in the slow movements… Rachmanov also performed Beethoven's variations on an Original Theme [Op. 34]… played effectively throughout."

Jim Lowe, The Times Argus, Montpelier, Vermont - 7/26/2006

'IMMACULATE'

When pianist Dimitry Rachmanov sat down at the piano at the Monterey Museum of Art at La Mirada on Sunday afternoon [August 29] he was an unknown quantity to members of the audience…So, when [he] sat down and began his program with the mournful, waltz-like Mozart Rondo in A Minor, K. 511, it was obvious in the first ten seconds that we were hearing a major artistic performance. There were no mannerisms or affectations here. This was pure music for music's sake. Every note was carefully considered, every ornament was lovingly sculpted, and every phrase was polished and shone like a string of pearls. The second work on the program consisted of the four Impromptus of Frédéric Chopin, played without interruption thus giving the effect of a quasi four-movement sonata - and it worked. The most popular of the four was, of course, the "Fantasie Impromptu" and it would be difficult to find a better performance. The least popular of the set is the third one in G-flat Major, and Rachmanov made the triplet passages flow like liquid silver. In No. 2 in F-Sharp Major the playing was very fine (except for a curious mannerism of beginning the opening measure forte and then gradually introducing a diminuendo in preparation for the opening theme). The first Impromptu in A-flat Major was lovingly played and achieved many moments of subtle beauty. With the Scriabin Fantasy in B Minor, Op. 28, Rachmanov took us over the top. Here was glorious playing that plumbed the depths of this magnificent work. No matter how thick the textures were, Rachmanov always managed to bring the important musical elements to the surface with startling clarity. This is a difficult virtuoso work, and Rachmanov played it with consummate ease. Although the Mason & Hamlin piano at the Monterey Museum of Art is two feet shorter than a standard concert grand piano and not, strictly speaking, an instrument capable of doing justice to the more demanding works in the piano repertoire, Rachmanov, with skilful pedaling and artistic control made the instrument sound glorious, a major accomplishment in itself.

After intermission we heard the Sonata Op. 25, No. 1 (the "Fairy Tale" Sonata) by Nikolai Medtner… Although by no means the best of Medtner's sonatas, the C Minor Sonata has its charms and received a solid performance on this occasion. As is characteristic of so much of Medtner's piano music, the textures are complicated and contain subtle cross rhythms, but Rachmanov managed to impose his own brand of charm on this significant work and impress us with its fine qualities. To end the program, Rachmanov treated us to a series of six shorter works by Rachmaninoff (to whom he is not related). There was some staggering playing on this portion of the program. For example, the great Prelude in B-flat Major, Op. 23, No. 3 that ended the program received a stupendous performance…Rachmanov played in a masterful manner and just blew us away with his immaculate artistry. Similarly, the difficult Moment Musical in E Minor, Op. 16, No. 4 in Rachmanov's hands emerged as a jewel full of shimmering colors.

There were two Etudes-Tableaux on the program, the E-flat Minor and A Minor, Op. 39, No. 5 and 6. These two etudes under Rachmanov's hands revealed new aspects of these well-known works, and the lyrical Prelude in G Major, Op 32, No. 5, received the loveliest performance I have ever heard, live or on recording.

After a single encore, the Scriabin Etude in C-sharp Minor, Op. 2, No. 1, a happy audience departed, many of them probably with some of the afternoon's magic melodies likely to come back and haunt them during the next few days.

It has to be said that this was the best piano recital we have heard on the Monterey Peninsula for several years.

Lyn Bronson, Peninsula Reviews, Monterey, California  - 1999