Back in April, I introduced you to Zenph’s third project, the original works and transcriptions of Sergei Rachmaninoff. At that time we had just finished our re-performance analysis and were producing the recording session with Sony and giving a live recital at Peace College in Raleigh. One set of album art, liner notes, advance reviews, and a killer press event later, we are weeks away from the September 22nd US release of the album through Sony Masterworks. You’ll be able to find it at retailers nationwide, as well as Amazon and other online stores. As always, I strongly recommend purchasing the CD over iTunes. Our team spent days of piano and mic positioning to bring you what we believe to be the most sonically pristine piano recording yet. The reward comes in listening to uncompressed audio files on a nice system, not bit-crushed mp3s on your iPhone.
On Monday September 21st, there will be a press event at Steinway Hall in New York with a special performance by violin superstar Joshua Bell (yes, the guy who played at a DC Metro stop and no one stopped to listen). Zenph has given him the opportunity to have Rachmaninoff accompany him on a Grieg sonata, and now it’s one of his favorite things to do (I wouldn’t blame him!). In fact, this track will be released on a Joshua Bell album days later, also by Sony Masterworks. Here is the link to purchase that.
One of my favorite things about the Rachmaninoff album is that it reveals years and years of misinterpretation by classical pianists. Somehow or another, it came to be that the “right” way to play a Rachmaninoff piece was to pound the crap out of the piano in a display of athleticism. And indeed, those pieces sound “badass” when performed that way. Extreme example? The Prelude in C# minor, Op 3 No 2. Exhibit A? YouTube. But what Zenph discovered in its analysis is that Rachmaninoff’s own touch was much more dynamic and gentle than was previously thought. His own interpretation of the C# minor Prelude is ever so subtle and creepy, instantly becoming my favorite version. That’s what I love about this company: it’s honest musical archeology, truth-seeking through data analysis.