Rachmaninov: Moments Musicaux; Corelli Variations; Six Preludes

Rachmaninov: Moments Musicaux; Corelli Variations; Six Preludes
Lazar Berman
Catalogue No.

Lazar Berman, a bear of a man whom The Times of London called ‘one of the last unabashed exponents of the Romantic tradition of Russian pianism’, was known for the power of his playing and for his prodigious technique but was also capable of great delicacy at the keyboard. The core of his repertoire was the great Romantic and post-Romantic works, from Beethoven to Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Emil Gilels referred to him as a ‘phenomenon of the musical world’. Eloquence presents his complete Deutsche Grammophon recordings over five titles.

The ‘Moments musicaux’ written in 1896, are products of Rachmaninov’s early maturity: at the ripe age of 23. The Corelli Variations, his last piano work, is considered, among Rachmaninov aficionados, to be one of his finest works. And while Berman recorded just six of the Preludes (making one wish he’d recorded them all), they represent some of the finest recorded performances of these pieces. This reissue presents all of Berman’s Rachmaninov recordings for Deutsche Grammophon on a single album with the first release on CD of the ‘Moments musicaux’.


16 Moments Musicaux, Op. 16*
Variations on a theme of Corelli
Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 3 No. 2
Prelude in F sharp minor, Op. 23 No. 1
Prelude in D major, Op. 23 No. 4
Prelude in G sharp minor, Op. 32 No. 12
Prelude in B minor, Op. 32 No. 10
Prelude in B flat major, Op. 23 No. 2

Lazar Berman, piano


Recording information

Executive Producers: Werner Mayer (Moments Musicaux); Klaus Behrens (Corelli Variations, Preludes)
Recording Producer: Werner Mayer
Balance Engineer: Wolfgang Mitlehner
Recording Locations: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany, November 1975 (Moments Musicaux); Plenarsaal der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich, Germany, February 1980 (Corelli Variations, Preludes)


‘Berman’s performance is very welcome … he meets the ‘furioso’ of No. 4 with the right strength and passion. No. 5 is a beautiful dream while No. 6 is a stirring virtuoso ‘tour de force’’ (Moments musicaux) Gramophone

‘There is much beauty, too, in Berman’s account of the Preludes, sufficient to make one wish that he would record a complete set. How delicate and fugitive Op. 23 No. 1 sounds at first, for example; then it rises to a brief climax, exactly judged by the player, and fades away. Op. 23 No. 4 is another lyrical piece, here shaped by surpassing pianistic art. Hear, for instance, the balance of melody and counter-voice in the right hand, the projection of the music’s ebb and flow of emotion. Again, Op. 32 No. 12 is beautifully ‘orchestrated’, every feature, however small, being placed with exact regard to its importance.’ (Preludes) Gramophone

‘a performance of the highest distinction … [Berman] reacts vividly to every detail of this last of Rachmaninov’s works for solo piano’ (Corelli Variations) Gramophone