The Philadelphia Orchestra: Lahav Shani - Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3

05/03/24 - 05/04/24

Repeats: Every Day

Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102
Region: Philadelphia & The Countryside

Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto draws you irresistibly into a labyrinth of interconnected themes, growing more mysterious, complex, and beautiful with each movement. For the pianist, this Concerto is one of the most challenging in the repertoire, its wide chords demanding flexibility and strength, and its romantic flourishes calling for sensitivity and passion. Rachmaninoff wrote the work especially to perform with American orchestras when he was invited to tour the United States. Perfectly suited to his own famously large hands (Rachmaninoff had a 12-inch handspan), the Third Concerto was performed by few others than the composer until Vladimir Horowitz made the piece famous. It is performed here by Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, acclaimed for his “easy virtuosity and panache” (The New York Times). Andsnes calls Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto “a sensuous pleasure to play.” One of Bartók’s best-known and most popular works, the Concerto for Orchestra was one of his final accomplishments. Deathly ill, broke, and hospitalized with leukemia, he received a visit from the great conductor Serge Koussevitzy, who commissioned the work in memory of his late wife. The composer called it Concerto for Orchestra because he gave each section of the ensemble a chance in the spotlight; overall, the work is marked by exhilarating rhythms and melodic passages recalling Eastern European folk tunes. Bartók lived long enough to hear the premiere of the work in 1944. It wasn’t until after his death that his works became popular; within a few weeks of his passing, dozens of performances of his works cropped up around the world—too late to improve his failing finances or comfort him in his illness.

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