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Cat. No. CHAN 10234 X Price: £7 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10234 - Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3/ Symphonic Dances
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Available From: 06 September 2004
Symphony No. 3 was written between June 1935 and June 1936, largely at the composer’s villa overlooking Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. It was first performed in the USA in November 1936 and in London a year later, almost thirty years after the first performance of his previous symphony. In three movements it is the shortest of the symphonies and while it does contain wide-spanning tunes similar to those in the Second Symphony, it has a quite different character. The colourful and characteristic orchestration and the melodic invention proclaim its composer, but the quixotic sudden changes of mood, the clear-cut form, the often transparent textures and the concern with counterpoint were new developments, and possible reasons why the work was somewhat coolly received at first. The vigour and modernism of the score is perhaps better appreciated in retrospect.

The Symphonic Dances, composed at Orchard Point, Long Island, New York, in 1940, was Rachmaninov’s last composition. It was dedicated to Eugene Ormandy (his friend and colleague) and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Critical reaction was, once again, unfavourable (one critic described it as ‘a rehash of old tricks’). As for the public, they were less judgemental, and time has ensured that the work has won a secure place in the orchestral repertoire. The work is a symphony in all but name – substantial in proportion and rich in thematic workmanship. As a concert piece it was effectively conceived to display the brilliance of this orchestra in all departments. Yet despite its ‘American’ cosmopolitanism and technical polish it remains essentially Russian in its brilliant orchestration and rhythmic verve.

…with superb playing from the LSO… the intensity is magnetic…
The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs

The LSO under the energetic Järvi… have the measure of it with exciting results, and the recording, from a London church, is in the best Chandos style.
Which CD

Järvis crucial ability to evoke and sustain atmosphere is ideally suited to a work where so much lies beneath the surface.
The Rough Guide to Classical Music


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