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Rachmaninov wrote the Symphonic Dances at the Honeyman estate, ‘Orchard Point’, in Centerport, New York, overlooking Long Island Sound. Originally given the titles of Noon, Twilight, and Midnight, Rachmaninov decided against these programmatic designations for the three movements at publication. The score was completed in October 1940 and premiered by Eugène Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, to whom it is dedicated, in January 1941. That we recorded this disc here in Philadelphia, on the organ in the new home of the Philadelphia Orchestra seems more than apt for this reason. The first movement, for the most part rhythmically energized and driven, ends with a quotation from Rachmaninov’s own First Symphony (1897), a work that had attracted the ire of critics at the time; criticism that had induced both despair and a period of creative atrophy for the composer for four years thereafter. Characteristic of Orthodox Russian church music, this theme is transformed in its appearance here from its originally rugged, minor key character into something more radiant and delicate in the relative major ©: a serene moment. The ghostly second movement often seems a musical play on light and shadow—a macabre and ghoulish waltz. Obsessive in the third movement is the battle for supremacy of the Dies Irae and the Resurrection chant Blagosloven yesi, Gospodi (Blessed be the Lord thy God) from Rachmaninov’s own All-Night Vigil (1915). The Resurrection theme is victorious at the end, for Rachmaninov writes ‘Hallelujah’ at end of the score.
from notes by Jeremy Filsell © 2014
|Rachmaninov: Transcriptions and arrangements for organ|
Jeremy Filsell is a world-renowned authority and performer on both the organ and piano. This new album vividly illustrates his lifelong love of the music of Rachmaninov and features fresh transcriptions and arrangements for the organ. At the progr ...» More