Rachmaninov: Trifonov's final destination
The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Seguin accompany the Russian virtuoso on the final stretch of his Rachmaninov journey.
Daniil Trifonov's journey around the world of Rachmaninov comes to a close with Destination Rachmaninov: Arrival, published by Deutsche Grammophon. The pianist has arrived safely into the harbour with Yannick Nézet-Seguin's Philadelphia Orchestra. This finale was inspired by the bells which are ubiquitous in the Great Russian soundscape.
Alain Corbin explained their importance to the rhythmic and symbolic scansion of everyday life in 19th Century France in his book Village Bells.
To the historian's analysis, we can now add the testimony of the pianist – who, like Rachmaninov, grew up in Novgorod. Russian bells lent Russian music its nobility and colouring of folk nostalgia.
Daniil Trifonov hasn't forgotten this, as is clear from his piano transcription of the first episode of Les Cloches. He was wise enough to respect the operatic power of the score and the splendour of its orchestration: harp, celesta and flutes are all truly transformed into bells in the hands of a musician who stays true to the aura of disquieting oddness (with its shades of Edgar Allen Poe) which surrounds the first movement.
His technique matches his capricious and bubbling imagination. While we might find ourselves yawning a little at the Vocalise, the first and third Concertos move us from thrilling ecstasies to tears of pleasure. A very fine record, in which the orchestra, perhaps a little distant, fulfils its role as a soundbox for the soloist.