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Completed in 1936, two years after the hugely popular Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony was considered by the composer to be one of his finest works. Both this and the Symphonic Dances, his last work, offer a summation of his late style in blending intense rhythmic energy with rich romanticism. Leonard Slatkin and the DSO’s recording of the Second Symphony (8572458) was hailed by BBC Music Magazine as “a performance warmed by musicians who clearly love this symphony”.
The Third Symphony and the Symphonic Dances are late Rachmaninov and go together very well. Both illustrate Rachmaninov taking new directions in his compositions, sparer in the Symphony and rhythmically charged in the Dances.
Sergei Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44
I. Lento - Allegro moderato
II. Adagio ma non troppo
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
“Slatkin can certainly manage the freedom of Rachmaninov's frequent marking tempo rubato...On the minus side, the notoriously hard-to-co-ordinate finale of the Third feels unhelpfully lumpy...Not a bad bargain”
“Structurally and from the point of view of identifying shifting moods, Slatkin has a secure grasp in both pieces, finding sublime, yearning wistfulness at the centre of the finale of the Symphonic Dances but harnessing vigour and bite for a thrilling conclusion”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.