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Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra follow their acclaimed recordings of ballets by Stravinsky with a disc that features the first and last published orchestral works by Sergei Rachmaninov.
The disc opens with The Isle of the Dead, which was inspired by the painting by Arnold Böcklin and based on the first notes of the plainchant setting of the Dies iræ.
The Rock was inspired by an image from a short story by Chekhov, and shows the youthfulness of a composer just turned twenty.
The Symphonic Dances, by contrast, sum up a lifetime’s musical and emotional experience. The composer noted that its three movements depicted the sequence of Midday – Twilight – Midnight.
Sergei Rachmaninov: Ostrov myortvikh (The Isle of the Dead), Op. 29
Ostrov myortvikh (The Isle of the Dead), Op. 29
Sergei Rachmaninov: Utyos (The Rock), Op. 7
Utyos (The Rock), Op. 7
Sergei Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
I. Non allegro
II. Andante con moto (Tempo di valse)
III. Lento assai - Allegro vivace - Lento assai - Come prima - Allegro vivace
“This is a very impressive programme...performances distinguished by expressive warmth, an intense sense of conviction and very fine playing from the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra...[Isle of the Dead] is utterly convincing and inherently dramatic. The brooding atmosphere is very powerfully conveyed.”
“Litton has a good grasp of [The Rock's] romantic sweep and sustains its narrative and emotional thread.”