Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op 44, doesn't have big tunes in the abundance of some of his other works, although the slow movement is a delicious Mussorgskian nocturne. Instead, the outer movements consist of patchworks of folkish motives and crisp orchestral writing that makes one wish one had attended the premier performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. The finale has a great deal of nervous energy that coalesces into a triumphant conclusion, and in this live recording by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski it packs a punch that is rewarded with substantial applause at the end. The LPO keeps up with all the detail, and if there may be less of an overall line here than in other performances, it's counterbalanced by a high level of energy throughout. Another attraction is the set of ten orchestral songs that rounds out the album: they are given in the graphics as "arr. Jurowski," and the arranger is indeed Vladimir Jurowski, but it is the conductor's grandfather, not the conductor himself. This may be worth the price of admission in itself; Russian tenor Vsevolod Grivnov soars above the orchestra, and the songs (one sacred, nine secular, all metaphysical to a greater or lesser degree), never terribly common, deserve more performances in this medium. Sample the idyllic The Little Island (track 7), with its delicate orchestral accompaniment. This is an above-average Rachmaninov release, even within the context of the flood of fine Russian music recordings coming from London in the 2010s.
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3; 10 Songs (Arr. Jurowski) Review
by James Manheim