RACHMANINOV Symphony No. 3, Vocalise. National Philharmonic Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski. Newton Classics

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Rachmaninov Symphony No 3 Vocalise Orchestra Leopold Stokowski Newton Classics

RACHMANINOV

Symphony No. 3, Vocalise

National Philharmonic Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski

Leopold Stokowski was a close friend and champion to many composers, especially the Russians who were exiled in the USA after the 1917 Revolution. Chief among them were Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff. The US premiere of The Rite of Spring was conducted by Stokowski, and in 1920 the US premiere of Rachmaninov’s choral symphony The Bells was given by Stokowski, who together with the composer had premiered the revised version of the First Piano Concerto.

It was natural that when Rachmaninoff completed his Third Symphony in 1935, Stokowski would give the premiere, which took place on 6 November 1936. Although the work is the composer’s orchestral masterpiece, it was met with a lukewarm reception, and Stokowski never conducted it again in public.

However, at the age of 93 Stokowski returned to the studio, and to his friend’s Third Symphony with an orchestra of hand-picked London musicians. The recording is a remarkable achievement and Stokowski proved that he had new things to say about this masterpiece, and the performance bristles with excitement and tension.

Newton Classics 8802024

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