Rachmaninov: Symphonies Nos.1-3; The Bells; Symphonic Dances

Rachmaninov: Symphonies Nos.1-3; The Bells; Symphonic Dances

by Mikhail PletnevMikhail Pletnev


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After his enormously popular piano concertos and the "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" (which are always among the most performed concert works), the most admired of Sergey Rachmaninov's large-scale orchestral compositions are his symphonies No. 1-3, the "Symphonic Dances," "The Isle of the Dead," "The Rock," and the choral symphony, "The Bells." They are imbued with the composer's characteristically brooding expressions, rich harmonies, and somber, mysterious themes, and their place among the great post-Romantic masterpieces is unchallenged today, despite a period in the mid-20th century when critical opinion was sometimes unkind. This box set is a good response to any rigid prejudices because Mikhail Pletnev's performances with the Russian National Orchestra do full justice to Rachmaninov's music and make the case for his skills as a symphonic composer. Yet Rachmaninov's orchestration is occasionally problematic because it is often dense and situated in the orchestra's middle range, so it takes a conductor of considerable ability to draw out the lines and make the counterpoint as transparent as possible. Pletnev does this with consistency, so the orchestra plays with precision and focused sound, and the textures are further clarified by Deutsche Grammophon's excellent recording. But even more important than the fine sound of the recordings are the sympathetic readings, which show Pletnev to have a thorough knowledge and emotional connection to this composer, which is vital in communicating the spiritual essence of his music.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/19/2011
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028947795056
catalogNumber: 001538602
Rank: 64576


  1. Saint John of Damaskus, cantata for chorus & orchestra, Op. 1
  2. The Bells, choral symphony for soprano, tenor, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 35
  3. Symphonic Dances, for orchestra (or 2 pianos), Op. 45
  4. Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44
  5. The Rock, symphonic poem for orchestra (or piano, 4 hands), Op. 7
  6. Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27
  7. Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13 (lost; reconstructed from piano duets and orch. fragments)
  8. The Isle of the Dead, symphonic poem, Op. 29

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