Classical home listening: full circle with Rachmaninov | Classical music

Rachmaninoff Symphony No 1 Philadelphia Orchestra/Nezet-Seguin

• The 1897 premiere of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 1 is at all times described as “a fiasco”. Regardless of the motive – one clarification is that the conductor was drunk – Rachmaninov hid it away. He quoted it on the finish of his life within the Symphonic Dances (1940), devoted to the Philadelphia Orchestra, who gave the primary efficiency. The orchestra’s new album, Rachmaninov: Symphony No 1 and Symphonic Dances (Deutsche Grammophon), from stay live shows in 2018 and 2019, pairs the 2 works.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts meticulous, pliant accounts, combining uncooked, brassy anguish (particularly within the finale of the symphony) with velvety, poetic romanticism (notably within the waltzing second motion of the Dances). Rhythms are taut, solos brilliantly colored. For individuals who will surprise: on the finish of Symphonic Dances, Nézet-Séguin permits the tam-tam to resound after the orchestra has stopped: its personal second of dying glory.

Variations - Clare Hammond

• Pianist Clare Hammond has a knack of blending repertoire to revealing impact. Her newest album, Variations (BIS), is a sequence of seven units of Twentieth- and Twenty first-century variations. The outline of the shape – a theme repeated many instances with modifications – could appear unpromising, however the shows of invention may be dazzling, particularly in the way in which Hammond programmes them.

Harrison Birtwistle’s From the Golden Mountain (a reference to Bach’s Goldberg Variations), stark, explosive, on a good rein, is adopted by John Adams’s I Nonetheless Play, allusive, fluent and in addition impressed by the Goldbergs. Along with Szymanowski’s monumental Variations on a Polish Theme, Helmut Lachenmann’s 5 Variations on a Theme of Franz Schubert, and works by Copland and Hindemith, the excessive level is the grand finale: Sofia Gubaidulina’s formidable Chaconne (1963). Hammond has given us an ear-bending and virtuosic recital.


• The wonderful Scottish Chamber Orchestra is halfway via its sequence of Friday lunchtime premieres of movies of live shows given final yr. All can be found on-line for 30 days. Subsequent up: Brahms’s String Sextet.

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