(featuring the legendary Vladimir Ashkenazy on Piano, backed by the Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink)
For Sergei Rachmaninov, a man not unknown to suffer the torments of mental ill-health, the problem of how to follow his Piano Concerto No.2 was a sizeable one ... After all, the No.2 had been acclaimed at the time (and is still known as) "one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed".
That Rachmaninov set out, in the Autumn of 1909, on a large-scale tour of the USA, with daily concerts planned for three months solid, would surely have been an extra burden on the Russian's troubled- and complex-mind. Nevertheless, he planned to unveil his Piano Concerto No.3 roughly a third of the way into the tour, on November 28, at the New Theatre, New York.
General reaction from the critics in the New York media, were to respond that although it was, indeed, one of the most interesting piano concertos of recent years, it was too long. Rachmaninov did cut the length of the Concerto following these criticisms, but it has long been realized that the cuts in fact undermine the music's architectural grandeur and symmetry ; the large scale structure needs time to develop naturally, evolving as it does from the deceptively simple opening D minor melody, into a work of impressive cohesiveness, subtle thematic cross-references and a spacious, richly varied design.
Side One : Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor Op.30, by Rachmaninov (beginning) :-
I Allegro ma non tanto.
Side Two : Piano Concerto No.3 (conclusion) :-
1) II Intermezzo : Adagio 2) III Finale : Alla breve.
Records graded visually to RRPG grades (record/sleeve) EX-/EX.