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Rafael Orozco

Rafael Orozco - The Philips Legacy (8CD Box Set)

‘Fire-eating virtuoso’ is how Stereo Review described the finales of the Rachmaninoff concertos recorded by pianist Rafael Orozco (1946–1996) with Edo de Waart.

Collected here are the complete Philips recordings of one of Spain’s piano aristocracy, winner of the 1966 Leeds Piano Competition. There is passion and poetry in equal measure, and an instinctive feeling for the ebb and flow of a phrase in these recordings of works by Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Rachmaninoff.

Barnstorming virtuosity from a distinguished member of Spain’s piano aristocracy: the complete Philips albums of Rafael Orozco, including several recordings new to CD. At the age of 20, Rafael Orozco came to the world’s attention at the 1966 Leeds Piano Competition. The fire and poetry of his Chopin, Liszt and Albéniz won him first prize, and then a contract with HMV/EMI which led to several acclaimed albums such as the Chopin Préludes. However, Orozco entered his full artistic maturity around the time of his recordings for Philips, made between 1972 and 1975. A solo album of Rachmaninoff is one of the newly remastered treasures which have been forgotten over time, but it confirms the depth of Orozco’s touch at the keyboard and his instinctive feeling for the ebb and flow of a phrase. Orozco projects the volatile mood-swings of Schumann’s Kreisleriana while holding close control over details of line and texture. In his booklet appreciation of Orozco, Jed Distler compares the album of Chopin’s Scherzos to meeting an old friend after a long absence: ‘I had forgotten the nuanced scintillation in the first Scherzo’s demonic outer sections, not to mention the uncommon precision and centredness of the triplets in No. 2’s famous main theme.’ He points out the coruscating impact but also strong architectural feeling of the Liszt Sonata recording which stands out among the solo repertoire on the set. Orozco also found a meeting of minds with the young Dutch conductor Edo de Waart. Aided by transparent Philips engineering, they explored all the refinements of dialogue in concertos by Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. His playing of them strikes a rare balance between refinement, passion and a sense of abandon. However, his Philips catalogue has rarely been reissued on CD, making this first-ever collection of his recordings for the label a valuable reminder of Orozco’s place in the pantheon of Spanish pianists, alongside the likes of Alicia de Larrocha and Esteban Sánchez

CD 1 CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2 Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante Edo de Waart CD 2 CHOPIN The Four Scherzos Nocturne Op. 62 No. 2;* Berceuse *FIRST RELEASE ON CD CD 3 CHOPIN Piano Sonata No. 2 LISZT Piano Sonata in B minor CD 4 SCHUMANN Kreisleriana; Fantasie CD 5 RACHMANINOFF Works for Piano Preludes Opp. 3/2, 32/10* & 23/5; Melodie Op. 3/3; Polichinelle Op. 3/4*; Liebesleid (after Kreisler); Études-tableaux Opp. 33/3,* 33/6* & 39/5*; Moment musical Op. 16/3* *FIRST RELEASE ON CD CD 6 RACHMANINOFF Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4 Edo de Waart CD 7 TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2 Edo de Waart CD 8 RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3 Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini Edo de Waart