|Sergei Rachmaninov Opus 30|
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minorPiano concerto in D minor. 1909. Time: 43'00.
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The Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (colloquially known as "Rach 3") is famous for its technical and musical demands on the performer. It has the reputation of being one of the most difficult concertos in the standard piano repertoire.
The third movement follows the second without pause.
Rachmaninoff authorized several cuts in the score, to be made at the performer's discretion. These cuts, particularly in the second and third movements, were commonly taken in performance and recordings during the initial decades following the Concerto's publication. More recently, it has become commonplace to perform the concerto without cuts. A typical performance of the complete concerto lasts about forty minutes.
Written in the peaceful setting of his family's country estate, Ivanovka,  Rachmaninoff completed the concerto on September 23, 1909. Contemporary with this work are his First Piano Sonata and his tone poem The Isle of the Dead.
The concerto is respected, even feared, by most pianists. Josef Hofmann, the pianist to whom the work is dedicated, never publicly performed it, saying that it "wasn't for" him. And Gary Graffman lamented he had not learned this concerto as a student, when he was "still too young to know fear".
Due to time constraints, Rachmaninoff could not practice the piece while in Russia. Instead, he practiced it on a silent keyboard that he took with him on the ship to the US.
The concerto was first performed on November 28, 1909 by Rachmaninoff himself with the now-defunct New York Symphony Society with Walter Damrosch conducting, at the New Theater (later rechristened the Century Theater). It received a second performance under Gustav Mahler several weeks later, an 'experience Rachmaninoff treasured' . The manuscript was first published in 1910 by Gutheil. The first performance in England was given by Rachmaninoff in October 1911 at Liverpool under the baton of Simon Speilman, and he also played it in November 1911 at the Queen's Hall, London under Willem Mengelberg; the first performance by an Englishman was by the Australian-born George Thalben-Ball (then known as G. T. Ball) in 1915 at the Royal College of Music in London.
Performances and recordings
The first recording of the concerto was made by Vladimir Horowitz accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Albert Coates for the HMV label in 1930. This has been listed by English critic and writer Norman Lebrecht as one of the 100 greatest recordings ever made.
According to some critics, the most technically astounding Rach 3 ever registered is a live performance by Vladimir Horowitz accompanied by the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli, available on an off-the-air recording made in 1941.
Another noteworthy recording is Van Cliburn's performance in Carnegie Hall on May 19, 1958, in celebration of his victory in the First International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow a month earlier. The account, featuring Kirill Kondrashin and the Symphony of the Air is a probing, ruminative reading that presents the work in a different light from that of the blistering, and fast-paced, accounts often heard.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Piano_Concerto_No._3_(Rachmaninoff)". Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.
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