Gregory and Sinchuk excel with Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff wrote very little for violin and piano, but that didn’t stop others from transcribing his music for those instruments. This recording collects Rachmaninoff’s three violin and piano works, plus 17 transcriptions.

The earliest transcriptions by Konstantin Mostras and Mikhail Press are fairly straight-forward. Fritz Kreisler’s transcriptions provide plenty of opportunity for expressive phrasing and long, lingering sweet tones – the hallmark of his style.

The transcriptions of Jasha Heifitz seem to encourage more robust performances by comparison. As with Kreisler, Heifetz arranged the music to suit his own style. There are portamento glides from one note to the next, and more than a few fast passages demanding a light and agile touch.

Though the transcriptions may favor a certain style over another, Annelle K. Gregory brings them all together in her performances. Gregory plays with a warm, rounded tone that nevertheless brings the notes into sharp focus.

Initially, I was hesitant to listen to what I considered to be an entire album of encore pieces. But the sheer musicality of Annelle K. Gregory and her accompanist Alexander Sinchuk won me over. Each work is presented not as a showpiece, but as an exquisite miniature to be savored. And so I did.

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Complete Works and Transcriptions for Violin and Piano
Annelle K. Gregory, violin; Alexander Sinchuk, piano
Bridge Records

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