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      • Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30, was composed in the summer of 1909. The piece was premiered on November 28 of that year in New York City with the composer as soloist, accompanied by the New York Symphony Society under Walter Damrosch. The work often has the reputation of being one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the standard classical piano repertoire.
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  2. Rachmaninoff | Piano Concerto No. 3. Written by. Painting by Alex Katsenelson. 1 year ago. 0 0. “Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.”―. Sergei Rachmaninoff. The first time I heard Sergey Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 I was twenty-two years old.

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    • 49 min
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    • Contents
    • Brief History of The Third Concerto
    • First Performances
    • Earliest Recordings
    • Champions of The Third
    • About The Score: Cuts and Cadenzas
    • My Favourite Recordings
    • Important Information
    • Reference
    • List of Musicians

    The Third (as it will be known for the rest of this article) was completed as a major composition which Rachmaninoff would "show off" in New York in 1909 during his first concert tour of USA. He wrote the work in the peace of his family's country estate, Ivanovka, and it was completed on 23 September 1909 (Julian Calendar). (NB. All subsequent dates are in Gregorian calendar, unless otherwise stated.) Due to time constraints, Rachmaninoff was unable to practise it on an actual keyboard in Russia and had to do it on a silent keyboard during his voyage across the Atlantic Ocean on board a ship. The Third was dedicated to Josef Hofmann, who, though regarded by Rachmaninoff as the greatest pianist of the day, did not play the Third in his lifetime.

    The Third was premiered on 28 November 1909 with Rachmaninoff himself at the keyboard, joined by Symphony Society of New York at the New Theatre, New York, under Walter Damrosch. On 16 January 1910, he repeated the Third at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic under Gustav Mahler. It was reported that both great musicians had great respect and admiration for each other.

    The first ever recording of the Third was done by none other than Vladimir Horowitz, who recorded it in 1930 with Albert Coates. Incidentally, Horowitz also recorded the Third 3 more times in his lifetime, including one with Serge Koussevitsky in 1950, the well-known recording with Fritz Reiner the following year, and the live recording with Eugene Ormandyin 1978. Of the four recordings, many favour the one with Reiner, but I would encourage you to try out the earliest one with Coates. Those of you who thought Rachmaninoff himself recorded the 2nd earliest Third, sorry, no points for that!! The second ever recording of the Third was by Walter Gieseking with Sir John Barbirolli in 1939, about 10 months before Rachmaninoff did his only recording of the Third (which is now available as part of a mid-price 2-CD set of the complete recordings of ALL his Concertos, including the Rhapsody, on RCA). Despite all the cuts and the very poor sound quality, I would urge all Rachmaninoff fans to...

    Like Horowitz, Vladimir Ashkenazy has made four recordings of the Third. A couple of others recorded it three times, including the now seldom heard-about Alexis Weissenberg. More about one of Weissenberg's recordings later. Of course there must have been many others who have PERFORMED (but not RECORDED) the Third countless number of times, but I have no idea if anyone had kept track of the number of times the Third has been PERFORMEDsince 1909. For a complete discography of ALL recordings of the Third done since 1909 (1930 actually), please write to Mr. Colebank.

    As quite well known by now, Rachmaninoff, in his lifetime, allowed cuts to be made to his large scale works during performances, such as the 2nd Symphony. Not surprisingly, four cuts were sanctioned by Rachmaninoff in the Third Concerto and two additional cuts also exist: 2 in each movement. For example, all the four sanctioned by Rachmaninoff were taken in his own recording, presumably, to fit into the 78s. Recordings in the early days were filled with these cuts. These days, recordings with cuts are few and far between. Interestingly, Boris Berezovsky, in his recording for Teldec in 1992, included one of the 3rdmovement cuts. Rare for a modern-day recording, indeed. Two first-movement cadenzas were written: the regular version is more scherzo-like than the alternate version, marked ossia in the score and printed in smaller notes. In more than 100recordings surveyed (by Mr. Colebank), the number of recordings using the regular cadenza outnumbered those using the ossiaby a ratio of...

    In my teens, Ashkenazy/Ormandy stayed on top of my list for quite some time (one of the first few CDs I purchased after switching from cassettes to CDs) before I started feeling that the Third needed to sound less "mild", less "level-headed", and more "heart-stopping" than what I was hearing. This all started after I listened to Horowitz (1951) and Rachmaninoff himself. Though I never seriously liked Horowitz's recordings because of his untidiness in the handling (I feel) of some of the quick passages (cf. the brief cadenza before the chordic Vivacissimo at the end of the Concerto in the 1951 recording), I admired the temperament of the performances – exciting and virtuosic, qualities that make you sit breathlesslyat the edge of your seat! Gavrilov/Lazarev (Melodiya), which I've heard since 1986 or 87, remains, till this day, a personal favourite. I've been waiting in vain for more than 5 years now for the re-issue of this recording on CD, and hopefully, with BMG undertaking the re-...

    The Rachmaninoff Society is an international organisation founded in 1990 to encourage and bring into contact all those who appreciate the life and music of the Russian composer, pianist and conductor Rachmaninoff. Please refer to The Rachmaninoff Society Homepage for more information about the Society. Those who are interested to join the Society, please write to (North American friends, please write to Mr. Colebank): Mr. John Lockyer 4 Springfield Cottages, New Road, Rotherfield, East Sussex TN6 3JR, England Mr. Colebank, whose name has appeared time and again on this page, is the Administrator of the North American Chapter of The Rachmaninoff Society. He has spent over 15 years researching and obtaining recordings of the Third Concerto and has self-published an extensive comparative discography of the work. He would appreciate anyone who can inform him of any Third Concerto recordings that may be available in their area. An example of this would be a recording issued by an orches...

    Discography of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30; Version 6.3; Colebank, Scott; July 1990.
    Concise Dictionary of Music; Wm Collins Sons & Co Ltd (publisher); 1986
    The New Penguin Dictionary of Music; Jacobs, Arthur; Penguin Books (publisher); 1983
    Sleeve notes of various CDs containing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30.
    Josef HOFMANN (1876-1957)
    Walter DAMROSCH (1862-1950)
    Gustav MAHLER(1860-1911)
    Vladimir HOROWITZ (1904-1989)
  5. Re: Best editions of Rachmaninoff piano concerto no.3. «Reply #6 on: July 14, 2009, 02:38:04 PM ». If anyone's interested, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is playing this at Tanglewood in Mass. on August 14th. It's paired with the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5. If I can persuade my parents, I'll be there.

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