Sergey Rachmaninov

Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Rachmaninov premiered the Third Concerto in New York with the New York Symphony Orchestra, led by Walter Damrosch, on November 28, 1909. The following January he played it with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Gustav Mahler. For many decades, it was neglected by pianists and public alike, in favor of the more compact, more tuneful and structurally sounder Second Concerto. It is a deeper work, full of virtuosic hurdles and lengthy cadenzas. But it was undermined by cuts Rachmaninov was prevailed upon to make, which, in the short run, served to make it more programmable in concerts, but ultimately sabotaged its artistic value. Since the last quarter of the twentieth century, however, most performances of the concerto have been of the original version, which can run around 45 minutes. (Abridged renditions shaved as much as ten minutes off the score's total timing.)

    The Third Concerto's first movement, marked Allegro ma non tanto, opens with the piano delivering a lively but solemn theme of Russian character, which then immediately begins to sprout new ideas. A yearning bridge passage leads to a rhythmic theme that slows and quickly takes on another melodic guise, a beautiful and typically Rachmaninovian one in its soaring and ecstatic manner. The main theme returns and a powerful development section yields to a lengthy cadenza, whose opening pages offer alternative versions for the soloist -- a lighter, more athletic beginning or a darker more chordal one. A restatement of the main theme and brief coda close this generally subdued and reflective movement.

    The second movement Adagio is formally rather unique, with the main theme dominating most of the movement, and a brief scherzo-like section appearing near the end. The mood ranges from the melancholy of the main theme by the oboe to the ecstatic glory of its big restatements by piano and orchestra in the middle part of the movement. After the playful scherzo-ish music, the piano is given a brief but brilliant cadenza that leads directly into the colorful finale.

    This movement, marked Alla breve, offers a typical Rachmaninov fast theme on the piano right off: it is related to the first movement's alternate theme and is rhythmically buoyant and catchy in its repeated notes. A rhythmic chordal passage harkens back to the rhythm heard at the concerto's outset, and a lovely theme, related to the first movement bridge passage, is presented, hinting at triumphant resolution. Following a dramatic, suspenseful buildup near the end the theme makes one final and absolutely triumphant appearance, after which the brilliant coda closes the work. The middle section of this movement recalls both main themes from the first movement and was once the most heavily cut section of the concerto.

    Today, this concerto carries the nickname of "Rach 3," and is the most popular choice among piano competition candidates wanting to perform a virtuoso display piece.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro ma non tanto
    2. Intermezzo. Adagio - attaca subito
    3. Finale. Alla breve

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Warner Classics 585041
    2018 Oehms Classics OC 1896
    2018 Naxos 8573630
    2018 BIS BIS 2338
    2018 Brilliant Classics 95520
    2018 Menuetto Classics null
    2018 Signum Classics SIGCD 548
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295886691
    2017 Hyperion CDA 68145
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4797015
    2017 Sony Classical 88985402412
    2017 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] 8501065
    2016 Sony Classical 88875119792
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88875169792
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875032272
    2016 Praga PRD 350123
    2015 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88875127202
    2015 Melodiya MELCD 1002349
    2015 Claudio CB 60282
    2015 Luiz de Moura Castro 5638466297
    2015 Steinway & Sons 30047
    2015 Philharmonia Records PHR 0104
    2015 Alto / Musical Concepts MCSCD 6005
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794647
    2015 Sony Classical 88843054582
    2014 Sony Classical 88843047122
    2014 Piano 21 P 2147
    2014 Melodiya MELCD 1002128
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4793631
    2014 Warner Classics 2564627827
    2014 Decca 4786348
    2014 Decca
    2014 Decca 4786765
    2014 Decca B002033502
    2014 Decca
    2014 Sony Classical 88843045052
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4792236
    2013 Muso MU 005
    2013 Decca
    2013 RCA Red Seal 88725484402
    2013 Entertainment Group 11509
    2013 Ars Produktion ARS 38505
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon B 001910202
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Decca B001811702
    2013 Decca
    2013 Decca
    2013 Decca 4785093
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099901924
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 EMI Classics 5099967908
    2012 Teldec 2564664684
    2012 Decca / Mercury Living Presence 001653302
    2012 Colosseum / Zebralution
    2012 K2 HD 651
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099931938525
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Decca
    2012 Onyx / Onyx Classics ONYX 4089
    2012 Decca
    2012 Decca 4783611
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4790058
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal
    2011 Nimbus 6148
    2011 The Entertainment Group 1049
    2011 Decca
    2011 Decca 4782746
    2011 Entertainment Group 1036
    2011 ASO Media CD 1003
    2011 Entertainment Group 1213
    2011 Warner Classics
    2011 EMI Classics 918726
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908519
    2011 Decca
    2011 Entertainment Group 1208
    2011 Nimbus NI 1720
    2011 Decca 4782826
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099962951128
    2010 Cembal d'amour 155
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca
    2010 Transart Live 127
    2010 Mariinsky 505
    2010 Avie 2192
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099964051
    2010 Decca
    2010 Hyperion 14
    2010 Sony Classical 88697712852
    2010 Decca 4782374
    2010 Decca
    2009 Ivory Classics 79001
    2009 Document 231058
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Membran 232676
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099923761
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 Testament 1440
    2009 Sony Music Distribution 88697575002
    2008 Telarc Distribution 80737
    2008 Rca Red Seal 68560
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 474171
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4399302
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 3458192
    2008 Antes Edition / Zebralution
    2008 Rca Red Seal 279722
    2008 Brilliant Classics 6981
    2007 Decca 4758592
    2007 Guild Historical 2323
    2007 Living Era Classics 2014
    2007 APR (Appian) 6005
    2007 Zephyr 12807
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099950087
    2007 EMI Classics
    2007 Hyperion CDA67649
    2007 Apex
    2007 Haenssler 98259
    2007 Regis Records 1270
    2007 Archipel / Archipel Records 0343
    2007 Decca 4758548
    2006 Warner Classics 510116033
    2006 Document 223012
    2006 Edel Records 2832
    2006 Arte Nova 797600
    2006 Brilliant 7794
    2006 Palexa 503
    2006 Mirare 8
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 4762153
    2006 FL 3107
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 45820
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 Warner Music 2564 63675-2
    2006 Rhino
    2006 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243476948
    2006 RCA 67892
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99668
    2006 Andante AN2150
    2005 Brilliant 92615
    2005 Decca 4756368
    2005 RCA Red Seal 82876 67894-2
    2005 Ar-Re-Se 20013
    2005 Audiophile Records 038
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Chandos 24130
    2005 Brilliant 92293
    2005 Andante AN 2090
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 585837-2
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 000290436
    2004 Rca Red Seal 59411
    2004 RCA 55269
    2004 Mercury 4706392
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 62838
    2004 Harmonia Mundi 807286
    2004 Antes Edition BM 319203
    2004 EMI Classics 85779
    2004 Brilliant 6214
    2004 Naxos 6110013
    2004 Naxos 554376
    2004 Naxos 5110013
    2004 Hyperion 67501/2SACD
    2004 Hyperion 67501/2
    2004 Berlin Classics 0013422BC
    2003 Decca 473601
    2003 RCA 56052
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 471576
    2003 Doremi Records 7815
    2003 Decca 473251
    2003 Archipel 0104
    2003 Warner Classics 0927-47941-2
    2003 Sony Classical 87283
    2003 Chandos 10078
    2003 History 45515
    2002 Telarc Distribution 60582
    2002 Telarc Distribution 80582
    2002 Urania 191
    2002 Cascavelle 3051
    2002 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243575510
    2002 BBC Legends 40922
    2002 Vox Music Masters 90112
    2002 Music & Arts 1095
    2002 Andante 2980
    2001 Disky 70678
    2001 History 205235
    2001 Cypres Records 9612
    2001 Philips 4689212
    2001 Philips 464732
    2001 CBC Records 5128
    2001 Seraphim UK 74522
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3002
    2001 Challenge Records CC72012
    2001 Sony Classical / Sony Classical Essential Classics 89734
    2001 Sony Classical 89734
    2001 Naxos 8 505177
    2001 Aura Classics 0192
    2000 Music & Arts 4250
    2000 Urania 160
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 73765
    2000 RCA 63681
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 64384
    2000 Sony Classical 64384
    2000 JRB 2002
    2000 Amadis 7185
    2000 Decca 467419
    2000 EMI Classics
    2000 Naxos 8501005
    2000 Arte Nova 74321 67509-2
    2000 Iron Needle 1398
    2000 Music & Arts 4963
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Intersound 3856
    1999 Naxos 8110601
    1999 Decca 466375
    1999 Decca / Universal
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 429715
    1999 BIS 900
    1999 Elan Recordings 82412
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    1999 Philips 456748
    1999 Philips 456841
    1998 APR (Appian) 5507
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    1998 EMI Music Distribution 72101
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 453 136-2GTA2
    1998 Nimbus 1761
    1998 Collins Records 15052
    1998 London 460608
    1998 Naxos 550810
    1997 APR (Appian) 5519
    1997 Sony Music Distribution 63032
    1997 BMG 68762
    1997 EMI Classics
    1997 Leningrad Masters 1312
    1997 Biddulph Recordings LHW036
    1997 Erato 063018411
    1997 Melodiya 40068
    1997 London 455234
    1997 London
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    1997 Philips 456403
    1996 Elan Recordings 2220
    1996 RCA Victor Red Seal 40378
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 68619
    1996 Carlton 01142
    1995 Philips 446673
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon
    1995 Discover 920221
    1995 EMI Music Distribution 556350-2
    1995 Intersound 3540
    1995 London 448219
    1995 London 444839
    1994 Testament 1029
    1994 RCA 61658
    1994 Infinity Digital 57260
    1994 Naxos 550666
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 53512
    1994 Nimbus 5348
    1993 Rca Red Seal 61564
    1993 RCA 61548
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 54880
    1993 Chandos CHAN9193
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 47183
    1993 Decca / Philips
    1993 Philips 438326
    1993 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 191
    1993 VAI Audio 1027
    1992 London 436386
    1992 Vox 5008
    1992 Teldec 73797
    1992 Chesky Records 76
    1992 RCA 61265
    1991 Telarc Distribution 80259
    1991 Mercury 432759
    1991 RCA 60540
    1991 Chandos 8882/3
    1990 RCA 5997
    1990 RCA 6209
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 763538-2
    1989 RCA 7754
    1989 CBS Records 44761
    1989 London 425576
    1988 London 421590
    1988 Decca
    1986 London 417239
    History 204566
    History 204564
    UNT College of Music
    New York Philharmonic NYP2003
    Lyra 1002
    Elan Recordings 2262
    Multisonic 310352
    Brilliant 92615/9
    Grammofono 2000 78619/21
    Legend 112
    History 205238
    Nouveau 4462
    Cypres Records 9612-3
    Intersound 878
    Gold Classics
    Por Arte 442
    Intersound 6230
    Teldec
    Samsung Classics 020
    Magic Talent 48076
    Elan Recordings 82262
    Monopoly 2030
    Melodiya 1000656
    Music & Arts 250
    Virgin 45173
    EMI Music Distribution 47031
    Bayer Records 100193
    Collins Records 1246
    Artists 49
    Pickwick 1605
    London 414671
    EMI Music Distribution 7470312
    Excelsior Recordings 31116
    Brilliant 92293/1
    Harmonia Mundi HMU90 7286
    The Piano Library 258
    Philips 464602
    Brilliant Classics 99668/23
    EMI Music Distribution 49941
    RPO 7006
    RCA 6524
    Teldec 0630-18958-2
    Masters of the Millennium 2085
    RCA 61396
    High Definition Classics 092
    Chandos 8521
    Chandos 6507
    Teldec
    Multisonic 0352
    Classical Records 002
    Arte 0008
    Enterprise 198
    Magic Talent 48066