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Building a Library: Rachmaninov: Symphony No 3

With Andrew McGregor. Including Building a Library: Rachmaninov: Symphony No 3; Tom McKinney reviews a box set of music from guitarist John Williams; Disc of the Week.

with Andrew McGregor

Building a Library: Sarah Devonald recommends a recording of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 3 in A minor from among available versions. A gap of nearly three decades separates Rachmaninoff's Third Symphony from its predecessor. And if it's leaner and shorter than the Second Symphony, the Third is still shot through with Russian nostalgia and unashamed romanticism belying its 1936 Philadelphia premiere, Rachmaninoff impervious as ever to progressive musical trends.

Tom McKinney reviews a 59-CD box set covering four decades of recordings by doyen guitarist John Williams, released to mark his 75th birthday.

Disc of the Week: Andrew makes a personal choice from among the latest outstanding releases.

3 hours, 12 minutes

Music Played

  • Joseph Haydn

    Symphony No. 81 in G major (i. Vivace)

    Ensemble: Accademia Bizantina. Director: Ottavio Dantone.
    • Decca 478 8837.
    • Decca.
    • 1.
  • Joseph Haydn

    String Quartet in C major Op.50, No.2 'Russian' (ii. Adagio)

    Ensemble: London Haydn Quartet.
    • Hyperion CDA68122.
    • Hyperion.
    • 6.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Serenade for strings (2nd mvt)

    Performer: Russian Virtuosi of Europe. Performer: Yuri Zhislin.
    • Orchid Classics : ORC100052.
    • Orchid Classics.
    • 2.
  • Leos Janáček

    Slava (Glagolitic Mass)

    Singer: Sara Jakubiak. Singer: Stuart Skelton. Choir: Choir Of Collegium Musicum. Choir: Bergen Cathedral Choir. Choir: Bergen Filharmoniske Kor. Performer: Thomas Trotter. Orchestra: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Edward Gardner.
    • Chandos CHSA 5165.
    • Chandos.
    • 3.
  • Jean‐Marie Leclair

    Scylla Et Glaucus - Suite

    Orchestra: Tempesta di Mare.
    • Chandos CHAN0810.
    • Chandos.
    • 11.
  • Attilio Ariosti

    Spirate, o iniqui marmi (from Caio Marzio Coriolano)

    Singer: Filippo Mineccia. Ensemble: Ensemble Odyssee. Director: Andrea Friggi.
    • Glossa GCD 923506.
    • Glossa.
    • 8.
  • Jan Dismas Zelenka

    Benedictus; Hosanna (Missa Divi Xaverii, ZWV 12)

    Performer: Václav Luks. Singer: Hana Blažíková. Orchestra: Collegium 1704. Choir: Collegium Vocale 1704.
    • Accent ACC 24301.
    • Accent.
    • 13.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No.4 in B flat major, Op.60

    Orchestra: Concentus Musicus Wien. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • Sony Classical.


Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 78-81
HAYDN: Symphony No. 78 in C minor; Symphony No. 79 in F major; Symphony No. 80 in D minor; Symphony No. 81 in G major
Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone (conductor)
DECCA 4788837 (2CD budget)

HAYDN: ‘Prussian’ String Quartets Op. 50 Nos. 1-6 (complete)
The London Haydn Quartet
HYPERION CDA68122 (2CD budget)

Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings & Souvenir de Florence
TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade for strings in C major Op. 48; Souvenir de Florence Op. 70
The Russian Virtuosi of Europe, Yuri Zhislin

Janacek: Orchestral Works Vol. 3
JANACEK: Glagolitic Mass; Adagio for Orchestra; Zdravas Maria; Otcenaš (Our Father) for four-part choir, tenor soloist, organ and harp
Sara Jakubiak (soprano), Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Gabor Bretz (bass), Thomas Trotter (organ), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Choir of Collegium Musicum, David Stewart (violin), Karstein Askeland (organ), Edvard Grieg Kor, Bergen Cathedral Choir, Johannes Wik (harp), Edward Gardner (conductor)

9.30am - Building a Library

Sarah Devonald recommends a version of Rachmaninov’s 3rd Symphony

Building a Library - Recommendations

Top recommendation:

Rachmaninov: The Symphonies
RACHMANINOV: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (complete); Symphonic Dances Op. 45; The Isle of the Dead - Symphonic Poem Op. 29; The Bells Op. 35
Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)
DECCA 4557982 (3CD budget)

Also available as:

RACHMANINOV: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (complete)
Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)
DECCA 4481162 (2CD budget)


Other recordings:

Below is a shortlist of other recordings which Sarah Devonald also liked, although we can’t guarantee the availability of these discs.

RACHMANINOV: Symphony No. 3  in A minor Op.44; Symphonic Dances Op.45
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/David Zinman

Rachmaninov: The Three Symphonies
RACHMANINOV: Symphony No. 1 in D minor Op.13; Symphony No. 2 in E minor Op. 27; Symphony No. 3 in A minor Op. 44; Vocalise for Orchestra Op. 34 No. 14
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy (1967)

RACHMANINOV: Symphony No. 3 in A minor Op.44; SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 6 Op. 54
London Symphony Orchestra/Andre Previn
EMI CDM769564 2 (CD)

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3
RACHMANINOV: The Isle of the Dead - Symphonic Poem Op. 29; Vocalise Op. 34 No. 14 - arrangement for orchestra; Symphony No. 3 in A minor Op. 44
The Philadelphia Orchestra, Sergey Rachmaninov (conductor)
NAXOS 8111357 (CD budget)
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3
RACHMANINOV: Christ is risen Op.26 No. 6; Symphony No. 3 in A minor Op. 44; At my window Op. 26 No.10; All passes Op. 26 No. 15; Small island Op. 14 No. 2; We shall rest Op.26, No. 3; What happiness Op. 34 No.12; I remember this day Op.34, No.10; It cannot be! Op. 34 No. 7; Sleep Op.38, No. 5; How fair this spot Op. 21 No. 7
Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor), London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)
LPO LPO0088 (CD mid-price)

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3
RACHMANINOV: Symphony No. 3 in A minor Op. 44; Prince Rostislav; Caprice Bohemien Op. 12
BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda (conductor)

10.20am – New Baroque Releases

Comedie et Tragedie, Vol. 2
CHARPENTIER, M-A: Le Malade imaginaire: Suite
LECLAIR, J-M: Suite from Scylla et Glaucus
RAMEAU: Les Fetes de Polymnie: Suite
Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra

Ariosti: London – aris for alto
ARIOSTI: Sorga pur l’oppressa Roma (from Vespasiano); Bella mia, lascia ch’io vada (I gloriosi presagi di Scipione Africano); Perdonate, o cari amori, Ouverture, Presto, Spirate, o iniqui marmi [recit]; Premera soglio di morte (from Vespasiano); Caio Marzio Coriolano: Ouverture & Presto; Rinasce amor (from Aquilio Consolo); Spirate, o iniqui marmi...Voi d'un figlio tanto misero (from Coriolano); Voi del ciel pietosi numi (from Dario); Venga pur quel si terribile (from Tito Manlio); La profezia d’Eliseo nell’assedio di Samaria: Sinfonia; Col nemico di mia pace (from Tito Manlio); Benche l’ultimo al tormento (from La madre de' Maccabei); Aure care (from Tito Manlio); Quando il mondo fabbrico (from La madre de’ Maccabei); Io spero che in quei guardi (from Caio Marzio Coriolano)
Filippo Mineccia (countertenor), Ensemble Odyssee, Andrea Friggi

Zelenka: Missa Divi Zaveri & Litaniae de Sancto Xaverio
ZELENKA: Missa Divi Zaveri, ZWV12; Litaniae de Sancto Xaverio, ZWV156
Hana Blažiková (soprano), Lucile Richardot (alto), Kamila Mazalová (alto), Václav Čižek (tenor), Stephan MacLeod (bass), Collegium 1704, Collegium Vocale 1704, Vaclav Luks

10.40am – Tom McKinney on John Williams

Tom McKinney reviews a 58-CD and 1 DVD box set covering four decades of recordings by doyen of guitarists John Williams, released to mark his 75th birthday.

John Williams: The Guitarist
John Williams (guitar)
SONY 88843092942 (58 CDs + DVD Video Budget)

11.45am – Disc of the Week

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4 in B flat major Op. 60; Symphony No. 5 in C minor Op. 67
Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor)
SONY 88875136452 (CD)


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Browse previous episodes of the Record Review Podcast

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