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#2303798 - 07/18/14 05:53 PM Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 247
Loc: Los Angeles
I've only ever heard this version one other time in my life and it was on one of those cheap sets of 20 volume LP's of "The World's 'Greatest' (read: 'most popular') Classical Music that came out in the 50's.

Anyway, decades later by accident I happen onto it again, this time played by Phillip Entremont in his classic recording with Bernstein from the 60's, I think. But listen to the descending passage that closes the concerto, those infamous chords that have to be played at lightning speed. It's at 3:09 of this short clip and my ear is hearing something chromatic like E/C/C/B/B-flat/A/A-flat-G.

Is my ear playing tricks on me or does anyone else hear chromaticism there when there shouldn't be any? If so, is this an Ossia I've never seen in any editions or heard in any other recordings?

Rach 2nd Concerto Ending

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#2303806 - 07/18/14 06:22 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: Joey Townley]
fnork Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1796
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
My guess is that Entremont just made that up for himself to play. And hardly anyone would take note, even. But thanks for pointing it out!

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#2303815 - 07/18/14 06:50 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: fnork]
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 247
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: fnork
My guess is that Entremont just made that up for himself to play. And hardly anyone would take note, even. But thanks for pointing it out!


No, honest, he didn't make it up. I heard that exact same ending decades ago and never forgot it because I used to listen to it at the Pasadena library all the time when they had turntables in there.

But the important thing is did you hear the chromatic octaves or am I just hearing things? So I know I'm not going crazy.

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#2303816 - 07/18/14 06:53 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: Joey Townley]
fnork Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1796
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
I think I heard the same thing as you did. Still, if he didn't make it up by himself, it could have been passed on from another pianist!

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#2303826 - 07/18/14 07:17 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: fnork]
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 247
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: fnork
I think I heard the same thing as you did. Still, if he didn't make it up by himself, it could have been passed on from another pianist!


Okay, thanks much. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't hearing things. It's interesting that the recordings were made within a few years of each other. Perhaps Entremont heard this other pianist play it like that and decided he liked it.

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#2304199 - 07/19/14 08:41 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: Joey Townley]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
Obviously you're not hearing things; he changed the passage considerably. I don't know whether I like the innovation, but it is certainly (relatively) unique.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2304519 - 07/20/14 07:04 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: Joey Townley]
Louis Podesta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 741
Originally Posted By: Joey Townley
I've only ever heard this version one other time in my life and it was on one of those cheap sets of 20 volume LP's of "The World's 'Greatest' (read: 'most popular') Classical Music that came out in the 50's.

Anyway, decades later by accident I happen onto it again, this time played by Phillip Entremont in his classic recording with Bernstein from the 60's, I think. But listen to the descending passage that closes the concerto, those infamous chords that have to be played at lightning speed. It's at 3:09 of this short clip and my ear is hearing something chromatic like E/C/C/B/B-flat/A/A-flat-G.

Is my ear playing tricks on me or does anyone else hear chromaticism there when there shouldn't be any? If so, is this an Ossia I've never seen in any editions or heard in any other recordings?

Rach 2nd Concerto Ending

Okay, I have been widely ridiculed on this website, when I even mention the name of Earl Wild. However, as it so happens, Mr. Wild: 1) first heard this piece, many times, live in concert with the composer performing.

2) He, as related to me, personally discussed the performances of all the Rachmaninoff Concertos with the composer himself.

3) In the following link, there is no chromaticism in the finale (and I do have Entremont's recording).

Go figure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvoFncOsKjk

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#2304528 - 07/20/14 07:33 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: Joey Townley]
Louis Podesta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 741
In addition, one of my former coaches was a student of Earl Wild, who was substituting for Eugene Liszt, when he (my coach) was a doctoral student at Eastman.

One week, Earl Wild cancelled all of his lessons. When he returned, his question to his students was: "Guess what I just did?"

His answer was that he had just recorded all five Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos in England in five days.

I seriously doubt that the 21 year old Philippe Entremont, (his age at the time of his recording), falls into the same category as a man who was a personal friend of the composer and who knew his music, inside and out!

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#2305135 - 07/21/14 11:11 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: Polyphonist]
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 247
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Obviously you're not hearing things; he changed the passage considerably. I don't know whether I like the innovation, but it is certainly (relatively) unique.


Well, it sure perked up my ears the first time I heard it back in the 60's as a kid. At high speed the passage is notoriously difficult and I see the likes of Yuja Wang buckle under it, just playing block chords to get to the end in one piece. Personally, playing it like Entremont seems to simplify it a great deal, as the pianist sounds like he is just playing chromatic octaves.

I wonder if Rachmaninoff would approve. He seemed to be easy about pianists making changes. I'm sure pianists here know the story that when Rachmaninoff bitched at Horowitz about him not playing his 2nd Concerto and Horowitz complained he didn't like the ending because the orchestra carried the melody instead of the piano, Rach exclaimed, exasperated, "Well, then change the music!"

The one pianist I know of whose playing of this passage is terrifying to watch is Denis Matsuev. Check this out at marker 32:31. You'll wonder how the piano didn't crash to the ground:

matsuev Hammering the Rach 2nd Ending

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#2305332 - 07/22/14 12:14 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: Joey Townley]
doctor S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/12
Posts: 137
Loc: Western PA
I dunno...I played this once...with all the notes. Entremont sounds like he might have been running out of steam? It sounds like he's simply playing descending octaves in both hands: C B A GG E (?) (you wizard transcribers, this should be easy), leaving out the f#dim7 and E7 chords, and not playing the final triplets at all. I much admire Matsuev, but despite the gargantuan sweating and grunting at the end (probably the recording), I can't hear the notes. And Louis, you surely don't deserve the slightest opprobrium for liking Wild: he surely was an underrated master. I could hear every note!


Edited by doctor S (07/22/14 12:19 PM)
_________________________
"I will hear in Heaven." Beethoven

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#2306120 - 07/23/14 07:06 PM Re: Mystery Alternate Ending to Rach's 2nd Concerto [Re: doctor S]
Louis Podesta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 741
Originally Posted By: doctor S
I dunno...I played this once...with all the notes. Entremont sounds like he might have been running out of steam? It sounds like he's simply playing descending octaves in both hands: C B A GG E (?) (you wizard transcribers, this should be easy), leaving out the f#dim7 and E7 chords, and not playing the final triplets at all. I much admire Matsuev, but despite the gargantuan sweating and grunting at the end (probably the recording), I can't hear the notes. And Louis, you surely don't deserve the slightest opprobrium for liking Wild: he surely was an underrated master. I could hear every note!

Thank you so much for your very insightful, and very well harmonically analyzed, comment. For once, we have someone with a great set of ears, and also a mind and a soul to match.

Further, Philippe Entremont (who is not dead - hint, hint, hint, Kreisler!!!) is the only one who can speak to the actual recording of this particular concerto.

If you (or Piano World) guys don't have the "cajones" to contact him, I do. Please just let me know, if you so desire.

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