The artistic concept behind this disc gives us a somewhat unusual compilation, featuring 9 excerpts from an "early Russian" All-Night Vigil–unison chants transcribed from 16th- & 17th-century manuscripts, recorded in 1988 by the Youth & Students Choir of the Moscow Musical Society (Boris Tevlin, cond.) These are followed by the first six movements from Rachmaninoff's "All-Night Vigil," op.37, from the classic (& currently unavailable) 1965 recording by the USSR State Chorus under Alexander Sveshnikov.
S.Rachmanihov wrote "Vespers" in 1915. It is a work of large scope, fully in keeping with the requirements of the genre and style of church music. At the same time "Vespers" bears the mark of the composer's unbounded imagination and is imbued with the poetry of antiquity and the enchantment of Russian folk art.
Symphony No.1 in D minor, Op.13 is significant in the creative biography of S. Rachmaninov. The special traits of the musical language typical of the composer are vividly revealed in the symphony. "Vocalise", Op.34 No.14 - is one of Rachmaninov's most popular works. It was written in 1915 and dedicated to an outstanding Russian singer, A. Nezhdanova. Artistic perfection, extraordinary plasticity and beauty of a melancholic melody, and lucidity rate the work among the best samples of the world's vocal literature.
A majority of well-known composers have written at least a few chamber compositions in their entire lifetime. The most famous would have to be Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and probably Prokofiev. Some, including Respighi and Vaughan Williams, are overlooked or even rejected in today's society. Whether it's because of lack of originality or excessive complexities, these sorts of compositions are always left in the dark. Take Rachmaninov's Cello Sonata, for instance. This 35-minute work doesn't receive the complete recognition it deserves. It's overshadowed by the composer's piano concertos and symphonies, all of which are respectfully first-rate works in their own right.
Although Sergei Rachmaninov considered himself first and foremost a composer, the last two decades of his life found him knee-deep in his “second career” as a touring concert pianist and recording artist. In 1992, RCA Gold Seal brought out all of Rachmaninov’s recorded performances in a 10-disc set, now reprinted as a space-saving budget box.
There are many factors that contribute to a great and worthwhile album; the actual performance (in this case by orchestra and soloist) is obviously important, but also significant is recorded sound quality, programming, interesting and informative liner notes, and (although less important) nice packaging doesn't hurt, either. This CD of Rachmaninov's First and Fourth piano concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini gives listeners all of these things. The liner notes provide an exceptionally useful timeline highlighting the chronology of two concertos, showing where revisions were made and when the final version emerged relative to the initial sketches. The Orchestre Philharmonique de l'Oural does a superb job of providing a lush and sensual backdrop for all three works heard here.