RACHMANINOV Symphonic Dances, STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements (2012)

Rachmaninov, Stravinsky

London Symphony Orchestra

Valery Gergiev

Did Rachmaninov realise that the Symphonic Dances would be his last work? Whether he had such a premonition or not, few composers have ended their careers with such appropriate music, for the Symphonic Dances contain all that is finest in Rachmaninov, representing a compendium of a lifetime’s musical and emotional experience. 
The work’s composition was preceded by a big public retrospective of his triple career as composer, pianist and conductor. On 11 August 1939 Rachmaninov gave his last performance in Europe and shortly afterwards left with his family for the US, one of many artists driven from Europe by the approach of war. In the following winter season the Philadelphia Orchestra gave five all- Rachmaninov concerts in New York to mark the 30th anniversary of his American debut (in 1909 he had premièred his Third Piano Concerto in New York, first with Walter Damrosch and then with Gustav Mahler conducting). Rachmaninov appeared as pianist and conductor; the works played included the first three piano concertos, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the Second and Third Symphonies, the symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead and the choral symphony The Bells.

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London Symphony Orchestra

The LSO was formed in 1904 as London’s first self-governing orchestra and has been resident orchestra at the Barbican since 1982. Valery Gergiev became Principal Conductor in 2007 following in the footsteps of Hans Richter, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Thomas Beecham, André Previn, Claudio Abbado and Michael Tilson Thomas, among others. Sir Colin Davis had previously held the position since 1995 and from 2007 became the LSO’s first President since Leonard Bernstein. The Orchestra gives numerous concerts around the world each year, plus more performances in London than any other orchestra. It is the world’s most recorded symphony orchestra and has appeared on some of the greatest classical recordings and film soundtracks. The LSO also runs LSO Discovery, its ground-breaking education programme that is dedicated to introducing the finest music to young and old alike and lets everyone learn more from the Orchestra’s players. For more information visit lso.co.uk

Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev is Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Stars of the White Nights Festival (St Petersburg), the Moscow Easter Festival, the Gergiev Rotterdam Festival, the Mikkeli International Festival, and the Red Sea Festival in Eilat, Israel. His inspired leadership as Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre since 1988 has brought universal acclaim to this legendary institution. Born in Moscow, he studied conducting with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory, won the Herbert von Karajan Conductors’ Competition aged 24, and made his Mariinsky Opera debut one year later conducting Prokofiev’s War and Peace. In 2003 he led St Petersburg’s 300th anniversary celebrations, and opened the Carnegie Hall season with the Mariinsky Orchestra,the first Russian conductor to do so since Tchaikovsky conducted the Hall’s inaugural concert in 1891. Valery Gergiev’s many awards include a Grammy, the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Golden Mask Award, People’s Artist of Russia Award, and France’s Royal Order of the Legion of Honour. His vast discography includes Russian operas, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky Symphonies, and numerous discs on the LSO Live and Mariinsky labels, including a Mahler Symphony cycle, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Wagner’s Parsifal, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and a disc of Debussy’s music.

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RACHMANINOV Symphonic Dances, STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements (2012)

Rachmaninov, Stravinsky

London Symphony Orchestra

    AllMusic.com

At first glance, the pairing of Sergey Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances and Igor Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements might seem like a stylistic mismatch, since the post-Romantic composer and the neo-classicist seem to have had little in common, apart from their shared Russian nationality and heritage. Yet there is a meeting place between these compositions, because Symphonic Dances is the most modernist-leaning of Rachmaninov's works and fully oriented toward the dance, while the Symphony in Three Movements shows Stravinsky in his familiar ballet mode, which is apparent despite a formal structure that barely qualifies as a symphony. Add to this the use of ostinato in both works, and the emphasis on strong, muscular rhythmic development, and the differences between the composers become less pronounced. Valery Gergiev leads the London Symphony Orchestra in these live performances, and few other conductors could bring out the works' boldness and energy, and even pugnacity, in the same way. Forceful and robust, Gergiev and the LSO are nearly obsessive in keeping the rhythms precise, and their attention to the music's pulse and propulsion gives this live album its spontaneity and excitement.

Blair Sanderson[read full review]

RACHMANINOV Symphonic Dances, STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements (2012)

Rachmaninov, Stravinsky

London Symphony Orchestra

Producer: James Malinson
Recording Engineer: Jonathan Stokes (Classic Sound Ltd.)
Recording location: Barbican London
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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LSO0688: RACHMANINOV Symphonic Dances, STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements
00:58:29   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Symphonic Dances i. Non allegro
Rachmaninov
00:12:55   Select quality & channels above
2.
Symphonic Dances ii. Andante con moto (Tempo di valse)
Rachmaninov
00:09:34   Select quality & channels above
3.
Symphonic Dances iii. Lento assai - Allegro vivace
Rachmaninov
00:13:49   Select quality & channels above
4.
Symphony in Three Movements i. Crotchet - 160
Stravinsky
00:10:06   Select quality & channels above
5.
Symphony in Three Movements ii. Andante
Stravinsky
00:05:44   Select quality & channels above
6.
Symphony in Three Movements iii. Con moto
Stravinsky
00:06:21   Select quality & channels above

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