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Inon Barnatan

Inon Barnatan to release ‘Rachmaninoff Reflections’ on Pentatone

Inon Barnatan presents Rachmaninoff Reflections, offering some of the composer’s most cherished piano works, including his Moments musicaux, Prelude in G-Sharp Minor and Barnatan’s own arrangement of the Vocalise. The centrepiece of this project is Barnatan’s breathtaking new piano arrangement of the Symphonic Dances.

Inon Barnatan is one of the most admired pianists of his generation (New York Times). His Pentatone discography consists of Time Traveler’s Suite (2021), Beethoven’s complete cello sonatas with Alisa Weilerstein (2022), as well as complete recordings of Beethoven’s piano concertos together with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Alan Gilbert (2019 and 2020).

“A few years ago I came across an unforgettable recording from 1940, in which Sergei Rachmaninoff plays through his Symphonic Dances on the piano for conductor Eugene Ormandy, before Ormandy led the Philadelphia Orchestra in the premiere performance of the orchestral version of the work.

While it’s not clear Rachmaninoff knew he was being recorded (he did not allow any other live recordings of his playing), this private performance offers a rare and intimate glimpse into the powers of one of history’s great pianists, and an extraordinary insight into the way he intended the piece to be performed. It also got me thinking…

Since childhood, I had been moved by the power, beauty, and complexity of the orchestral version of Symphonic Dances. Later, I loved collaborating with other pianists to perform the two-piano version (which Rachmaninoff created before the orchestral version) alongside other pianists, but hearing the composer play it alone on a single piano, I got a tantalizing new perspective on how the score must have been conceived, and how a solo piano version could promise a new dimension of spontaneity and flexibility. All I had to do was create it.” (Inon Barnatan on Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances)

Digital release date: November 10, 2023

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Stream the first single on Opus 3’s New Music Friday playlist on Spotify.