Rachmaninoff's 1st Piano Sonata, original version - His Best?

I just finished listening to this Sonata by Lukas Geniusas playing the unedited and unpublished version of this sonata, which was, believe it or not, abandoned by Rachmaninoff and had remained unpublished and unperformed. There have been some edited versions that have gained a lot of appreciation (of which I have several) and I find this version and performance exceeds them all, and not by a small margin. Geniusas ranks this sonata along with the 3d PC as Rachmaninoff’s best.

And, FWIW, this sounds as close to a live performance as I have heard over my system. I think audiophiles would be pleased.

Start your new year with something great. :-)


Is that the recording made from Rachmaninov home in Lucerne?  I have to admit that I don’t think I know the First Sonata.  I do know the Second 

Yes. IMHO it's worth getting to know. It is really a bit different from his other music for solo piano. Reminds me a little of Liszt. I'd have to admit though that before I heard the 'original version' I didn't like it so much. OK, but so is a lot of other stuff too. :-)

So I listened on Apple Music.  It’s a fascinating piece, if for no other reason that there are so many tunes that ended up in other Rachmaninov compositions, such as the Third Piano Concerto, the Etude-Tableux, and the Preludes, and no doubt some that I missed.  There are also frequent displays of Rachmaninov use of polyrhythmic time signatures, with frequent 3 on 2s, a trait that he shared with Brahms.   The question is, does this add up to a coherent musical statement?  After one listening I tend to say not.  It also reminds me of Brahms first two sonatas, in that these 3 sonatas are jam packed with musical ideas the trip on each other and get in the way.  Brahms learned to self edit and organize his materials.  Rachmaninov, not so much.  However, a fascinating piece that I will return to, and the piano sound is excellent 

Mahler 123, Nice analysis. Valid, too I think. Your views probably reflect those of the folks who did the edits. Yet, I will probably listen to this more than the  edited versions. Perhaps it is as much the sound and performance as anything. :-)

Excellent! Both the performance and recording are top notch. It does resemble Brahms at times but is unmistakably Rachmaninov. Thanks again @newbee !!!