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Anne-Marie Minhall presents the third of this week's concerts surveying the finest recordings of the year.
Tonight's concert opens with the Number One favourite from Classic FM's Hall of Fame 2013 - the second piano concerto by Sergei Rachmaninov. It's played by the Ukranian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa, pictured above, who is something of a social media phenomenon. She has secured a vast global online audience, becoming one of the most viewed pianists on YouTube with more than fifty million visitors to her videos. She has recorded all four Rachmaninov piano concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody with the London Symphony Orchestra under Michael Francis.
Conductor Adam Fischer leads the Danish National Chamber Orchestra through Mozart's Symphony No.8 in D major, as part of their ongoing complete survey of Mozart's symphonies. This is Mozart looked at afresh. The polished playing on modern instruments is bright and breezy and the recording is crisp and sparkling with every detail audible.
Felix Mendelssohn's Octet in E flat major is played tonight with great vitality and precision by members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. This superb ensemble are at home with Mendelssohn's breakthrough masterpiece. Conceived on a grand scale, the 16-year old composer even stated on the title page of the score that the work must be played 'in the style of a symphony'. One critic has written, 'Its youthful verve, brilliance and perfection make it one of the miracles of nineteenth-century music.'
The concert finishes with a real knees-up courtesy of Aaron Copland and his Four Dance Episodes from the wild west ballet, Rodeo. Leonard Slatkin is the maestro to call up for top notch performances of American music and this superb recording is no exception.
Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor
Piano: Valentina Lisitsa
Michael Francis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No.8 in D major
Adam Fischer conducts the Danish National Chamber Orchestra
Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat major
Members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra
Aaron Copland: Rodeo – Four Dance Episodes
Leonard Slatkin conducts the Detroit Symphony Orchestra