Rachmaninoff’s Third

Sergei Rachmaninoff

• Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op. 44

• Caprice bohémien, Op. 12

• Prince Rostislav

Performed by the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a master at creating great melodic line in any of his compositions. Think of the piano concerti, or any of the symphonies or other orchestral works.

The Third Symphony features a style that is more concise and somewhat less expansive than is heard in the Second and Third Piano Concertos or the Second Symphony, though lyricism is still quite present. In the Third Symphony the themes tend to be shorter in span, and there are multiple indication of tempo changes in each movement.

If Rachmaninoff’s style had become more concise when he wrote this symphony, his orchestration had become much more sophisticated and resourceful. The scoring of this symphony is vivid and imaginative. This is apparent from the very start when the opening quiet, chant-like theme is scored for the unusual combination of clarinets, two muted horns and a single cello, also muted. What an original combination! Thereafter the orchestration is often more vibrant and colorful but these first few bars alone tell us that an expert and imaginative orchestrator is at work.

The BBC Philharmonic does a terrific job at performing this work, under the leadership of Gianandrea Noseda.

Here is the St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonic Orchestra, Arkady Leytush, in a live performance



And now, Rachmaninoff: Symphony No.3 – Second Movement


Tags: Rachmaninoff, Symphony No.3

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