Complete Rachmaninoff Concertos and Symphonies – the Third Night

April 1, 2023 | Svetlanov Hall of the MIPAC
Subscription Series “Rachmaninoff: Complete concertos and symphonies (to the 150th Anniversary)”
Soloist – Alexander Romanovsky, piano
Conductor – Vladimir Spivakov
Rachmaninoff. Concerto No. 3 for piano and orchestra in D minor, Op. 30
Rachmaninoff. Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44


Vladimir Spivakov and the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia continue their four-concert series, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Sergei Rachmaninoff's birthday, which encompasses all his concertos and symphonies. On April 1 – on the composer's birthday – the pianist Alexander Romanovsky will become a partner of the maestro and his orchestra. In collaboration with him, the NPR recorded all Rachmaninoff's concertos. The release of all the composer's symphonies and concertos will take place soon.

Alexander Romanovsky, living at present in Italy, is winner of the competitions in Bolzano and Cantu, an awardee of the Tchaikovsky Competition. The New York Times regards him as one of the best pianists nowadays and emphasizes the rare perfection of his playing, artistic distinctiveness and graceful judgment. Vladimir Spivakov says about him: 'According to Carlo Maria Giulini, whose opinion I share, after Benedetti-Michelangeli and Pollini in Italy there has not been a pianist of their class but for Romanovsky'.

Part 1 will feature the Third Piano Concerto, the masterpiece becoming the author's visiting card and even his most popular work. The Concerto had been written, as the composer put it, “especially for America”: in the fall of 1909, Rachmaninoff toured the country giving 20 concerts and played the new opus during the tour. Owing to the large scale of its dramatic structure and the overall thematic unity, the Third Concerto could be justly typified as a “piano symphony”. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most difficult works of the world piano literature. 

The night will end with the Third Symphony – the last of Rachmaninoff's symphonies written during the 1936-1938 years and becoming for him one of the most beloved opuses he had penned. It embodies his thoughts about the Russia he had left and about himself who had been set apart from it. 'A composer's music ought to bear reflections of his native country, his love, faith, books, paintings that has influenced him... I am a Russian composer; my homeland has affected my nature and mentality. My music is a child of my nature, hence it is Russian,' - Rachmaninoff said in one of his last interviews.

For the Third Symphony the author chose a three-movement composition, subtly combining the lyrical adagio and the scherzo in the second movement. The first movement starts with an austere tune reminding of Russian old church chants. It sets the metaphoric format of the entire work and is turned into the main element in the completely musical pattern. It becomes opposed in the Finale by another canonic motto, that is the Dies irae sequence from the Roman Rite liturgy often used by Romanticism composers as a theme of doom. The motto used to be a kind of idée fixe for Rachmaninoff that had been chasing him since his youth and brought by him as direct or hidden citations into almost all his works of the later period.


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