6 Claire Huangci CR Mateusz Zahora

    Claire Huangci: In the Studio with Rachmaninov

    „I get very nervous when I am making records (...) when the stage is set for the final recording and I realise that this will remain for good, my hands get tense.“ No, this isn’t Claire Huangci, who recently recorded Sergei Rachmaninov’s complete piano preludes for Berlin Classics, but rather the Russian composer himself who admitted to nerves. One of the greatest pianists of his time, Rachmaninov made landmark recordings of both his own works and music by other composers, but always had a certain mistrust of sound recordings.Nearly a hundred years later, committing any works to disc still presents its own exciting challenges. This is especially true in the case of the preludes, which are not only technically difficult, but since many of the individual works are relatively unknown, the whole cycle has been rarely recorded in its entirety. Claire Huangci confirms this: “There are a couple of favourites which everybody knows, and everybody plays. These few preludes, which Rachmaninov recorded himself, overshadow the rest of the cycle. I find this a great pity – for me, there isn’t a single prelude that is a little sub-par. Every piece is simply so unique and a small masterpiece in its own right.”

    © Irmeli Jung

    In 2019, Wergo released a portrait CD including Anssi Karttunen’s recordings of Hans Werner Henze’s English Love Songs with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Oliver Knussen.