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The recordings of Sergei Rachmaninov’s complete Piano Concertos with Daniil Trifonov on Deutsche Grammophon are widely acclaimed, and now the Philadelphia Orchestra and their Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin are embarking on another project of Rachmaninov’s works, presenting his three symphonies and other orchestral works.

This first album entails the composer’s Symphony no.1 with the Symphonic Dances, thereby combining one of his earliest compositions with his very last one. Yannick Nézet Séguin was keen to match these two works, thus not only presenting a time span of more than 40 years of the composer’s life, but also him partly using the same musical material.

When Rachmaninov’s First Symphony was premiered in 1897 by a badly prepared orchestra: the performance turned out to be a disaster which obviously deeply hurt the young composer, not even 24 years old. Yet, later decades proved this early work to be absolutely worth a listen when performed by a first-class orchestra and conductor.

And who could be a better choice for this than Yannick Nézet-Séguin and his Philadelphia Orchestra? The second work on this album, the Symphonic Dances, op.45, was written in 1940 and has been dedicated to the Philadelphia Orchestra and to Eugene Ormandy, its music director back then, by Rachmaninov. And in contrast to his First Symphony the Symphonic Dances were successful from the very beginning!

This album is the first of three Rachmaninov releases with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin , followed by recordings of Symphony no.2 and The Isle of the Dead in 2022 and, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninov’s birthday in 2023, Symphony no.3 and The Bells.

Track List

Rachmaninov, Sergei

Symphonic Dances, op.45
Symphony no.1 in D minor, op.13