From the Vault...


Van Cliburn
Concerto No. 1/

Concerto No. 2"

© RCA Victor Red Seal Records

Year of Release: 1987

track listing
  • Allegro Non Troppo E
    Molto Maestoso
  • Andantino Simplice
  • Allegro Con Fucco
  • Moderato; Allegro
  • Adagio Sostenuto
  • Allegro Scherzando

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    Van Cliburn related sites:
    Van Cliburn Website
    Previous Review: #1688
    Nick Noble--You Don't Know What Love Is
    Next Review: #1690
    Julian Lage--Modern Lore
    Van Cliburn
    "Tchaikovsky: Concerto No. 1/Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 2"

    This week, it's a perfect getaway from the Rock & Roll, Rap, and the common "loud or music you probably don't want to listen to." Classical music returns here, and it's two of Van Cliburn's albums: Tchaivoksy: Conerto No. 1 (1958) and Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 2 (1962). The Tchaivosky album was #1 on Billboard's album chart, which was rare, being a Classical album topping the chart, when Rock & Roll was clearly dominating the charts at the time.

    Van Cliburn was an accomplished pianist, where he won in the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, in April, 1958. He was 23 years old, from Kilgore, Texas. Standing six-foot-four, 160 pounds, and a shock of sandy hair. He was the obvious choice to win the competition by those who saw him. In the finals, he played Tchaikovsky's first concerto and Rachmaninoff's third concerto, with the Moscow Radio Symphony, conducted by Kiril Kondrashin, which the Tchaivosky Concerto No. 1 album was recorded; the 1962 Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2, was conducted by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3 was another album released by Van Cliburn, in 1959.

    At the finals, the crowd went wild, chanting in union - "First prize! First prize!" His Russian triumph launched him successful concerts in the United States, backed by the Tchavosky Competitors prize jury. Van Cliburn performed at Carnegie Hall, duplicating his award-winning performance, as he did in Moscow. Van Cliburn invited conductor Kondrashin along with him to the U.S. Van Cliburn performed twice at Carneigie Hall, and also in Philadelphia, achieving the same results as his past performances. Likewise, the results in Washington D.C.

    Pytor Iiychi Tchavivosky was one of the famous Classical composers, as other well-known composers, such as Bach, Beethoven, Brahams, and more. For those who follow Classical, "Allegro Non Troppo E Molto Maestoso" is one of Tchavivosky's most famous pieces. As soon as it begins, those remember it. But for those Classical music fans may or may not know, is that this allegro piece is 20 minutes long, and after the 3-minute mark, the familiarity of this piece is most likely not well-known, as the rest of this piece is as powerful and beautiful as Van Cliburn and orchestra can perform it.

    The remaining tracks from Tchavivosky Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23 are also long in length: "Andantino Simplice" (11 minutes), and "Allegro Con Fuoco" (12 minutes). Both pieces are just as powerful, and beautiful as Classical music gets.

    (Sergei) Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18 also has long pieces in length, and contains three pieces. "Moderato; Allegro" (11 minutes), "Adagio Sostenuto" (12 minutes), and "Allegro Scherzando" (12 minutes). Also to mention, is that on "Adagio Sosetenuto" just may sound familiar to Popular/Rock music fans, especially from the 1970s. This music was used by a popular song by Eric Carmen, "All By Myself," and later remade by Celine Dion and others. Rachmaninoff's music was in the public domain in the United States, and Carmen thought no copyright existed on it. It was still protected outside the U.S. Before Carmen's album (Eric Carmen, (1975) was released, he was contacted by the Rachmaninoff estate and was informed otherwise. An agreement was made, in which the estate would receive 12% of the royalties. Another song from Carmen, and from the same album, the song "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" was also agreed on, as it used Rachmaninoff's third movement from his Symphony No. 2. Another melody of Rachmaninoff's was also used in a previous song by Carmen's former band, The Raspberries -- "Let's Pretend."

    Van Cliburn's real name was Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn Jr. He was from a musical family, as his mother was a piano teacher and an accomplished pianist herself. His father worked in the oil industry. Playing at age three, his mother discovered Van mimicking one of her students. She arranged him to start taking lessons. He would develop a rich, round tone, and singing-voice-like phrasing, being taught to sing with each piece of music. He toured domestically and overseas, and played for royalty, heads of state and performed for every U.S. President, starting with Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. His contributions lead him to his great contribution, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition: The Cliburn was founded in 1958, and is held every four years. It is open to pianists between the ages of 18 and 30. Through auditions, 35 pianists are chosen to participate in Fort Worth, Texas. Their performances are open to the public, and judged by a distnguished international jury.

    Throughout his recorded career, his albums were focused on well-known 19th-Century composers. He recorded these albums from 1958 to 1977, and returned in 1994, 2008 and 2009. In 2012, his publicist announced that he had bone cancer, and undergoing treatment, and resting in his Fort worth, texas home, getting round-the-clock care. Van Cliburn passed away on February 27, 2013, at the age of 78.

    Van Cliburn was a very distinguised pianoist. He may have never been well-known, but his accomplishments on this week's album reviewed easily is heard on how he can play the piano. (I think if he and Rick Wakeman would compete, it would be hard to determine who would win in a competition.) Van Cliburn said of himself at an audience in New York City, where the honor was including a classical musician: "I appreciate than you will ever know that you are honoring me, but the thing that thrills me the most is that you are honoring classical music. Because I'm only one of many. I'm only a witness and a messenger. Because I believe so much in the beauty, the construction, the architecture invisible, the importance for all generations, for young people to come that it will help their minds, develop their attitudes, and give them values. That is why I'm so grateful that you have honored me in that spirit."

    In saying that, Van Cliburn was basically saying that Classical Music should be honored more. Classical music is beautiful music. A perfect getaway from the loudness and it's vulgarity for the most part, from Popular Music. Van Cliburn is one of many musicians in Classical music who should be recognized more. Not just he was an accomplished musician in his own right, but for Classical music in general.

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    Previous Review: #1688
    Nick Noble--You Don't Know What Love Is
    Next Review: #1690
    Julian Lage--Modern Lore