Daria Rabotkina, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Sladkovsky | Live from Russia

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George Gershwin Maurice Ravel Sergei Rachmaninov

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Classical: Concerto Classical: Orchestral Moods: Featuring Piano
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Live from Russia

by Daria Rabotkina, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Sladkovsky

Daria Rabotkina's third recording on the Victor Elmaleh Collection label unites Russia, France, and the United States through the towering piano works of Rachmaninov, Ravel, and Gershwin.
Genre: Classical: Concerto
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Minor, Op. 40: I. Allegro vivace (Live)
Daria Rabotkina, Alexander Sladkovsky & Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra
9:54 $0.99
2. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Minor, Op. 40: II. Largo (Live)
Daria Rabotkina, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Sladkovsky
6:52 $0.99
3. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Minor, Op. 40: III. Allegro vivace (Live)
Daria Rabotkina, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Sladkovsky
9:52 $0.99
4. Piano Concerto in G Major, M. 83: I. Allegramente (Live)
Daria Rabotkina, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Sladkovsky
8:37 $0.99
5. Piano Concerto in G Major, M. 83: II. Adagio assai (Live)
Daria Rabotkina, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Sladkovsky
8:52 $0.99
6. Piano Concerto in G Major, M. 83: III. Presto (Live)
Daria Rabotkina, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Sladkovsky
4:07 $0.99
7. Rhapsody in Blue (Molto moderato) [Live]
Daria Rabotkina, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Sladkovsky
18:04 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The works on this recording bring together three countries, Russia, France and the United States, in a unity that soars above any political or geographical considerations. This unity is based on personal connections between the composers and their interrelated use of idiosyncratic features. Seemingly unrelated, the Russian romantic tradition finds its way into the melody-soaked American idiom, which, in turn, lends its syncopated rhythms to French music; the latter then utilizes both the yearning in the blues and the rhythmic angularity of jazz. Besides the stylistic links, all three concerti were written in the complicated period of time between the two World Wars.

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873 – 1943) might have begun working on his Fourth Concerto in 1911, preceding the compositions of Ravel and Gershwin by more than a decade. The ending of the second movement of the concerto bears great similarity to a portion of the Etude-Tableaux, Op.33, No. 3 from 1911. While it took Rachmaninov many years to create the final version of this concerto in 1941, some of his initial ideas were already prominently present on the brink of the First World War. If we can consider music as live matter and a part of us, we can compare a work and its composer to a child and their parent. Being such a child, the Fourth Concerto was born during a complicated, unstable period, the time of dark premonition, anxiety and fear. Perhaps this was the reason Rachmaninov felt persistent dissatisfaction with the concerto; when in distress, our raw feelings might seem ugly for conventional perception and might not fit into any known forms. In one of his letters to his friend and composer, Nicolai Medtner, Rachmaninov complained that the concerto is turning out to be very lengthy. Medtner’s response was: “It is not the length of musical compositions that creates an impression of boredom, but it is rather the boredom that creates the impression of length.”

Of Russian and Lithuanian Jewish descent, George Gershwin (1898 – 1937) became the embodiment of American music, just as Rachmaninov and Ravel were representative voices for their counties. Precious is Gershwin’s recollection of how the Rhapsody in Blue was born: “It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattlety bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise... And there I suddenly heard, and even saw on paper – the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end. No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness. By the time I reached Boston I had a definite plot of the piece, as distinguished from its actual substance.” Having no music lessons until the age of ten, Gershwin never felt adequate around professional musicians – hence the legend which tells about Gershwin asking Ravel for composition lessons while in Paris. Such eagerness and lack of ego led him to allow others to make various changes to his Rhapsody in Blue, among which are significant cuts in the score. In the present recording, an attempt has been made to perform not only the complete version of 1924, orchestrated by Ferde Grofé, but also to incorporate some of the additional material from the original manuscript, discovered by pianist and Gershwin scholar Alicia Zizzo.

Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937) started thinking about his Concerto in G Major shortly after his trip to United States in 1928. In conversation with Robert de Fragny, he said: “The G-major Concerto took two years of work, you know. The opening theme came to me on a train between Oxford and London. But the initial idea is nothing. The work of chiseling then began. We’ve gone past the days when the composer was thought of as being struck by inspiration, feverishly scribbling down his thoughts on a scrap of paper. Writing music is 75 percent an intellectual activity. This effort is often more pleasant for me than having a rest.” This meticulous approach had the concerto ready by 1931, but for various reasons its premiere was postponed until early 1932. During the premiere, Marguerite Long was praised for her interpretation of the piano part, and the concerto proceeded to charm the audiences on its successful European tour. During the concerto’s composition, Ravel studied scores of all of Mozart’s concerti, as well as works by Saint-Saëns, describing his piece as a “concerto in the truest sense of the word… The music of a concerto should, in my opinion, be lighthearted and brilliant, and not aim at profundity or at dramatic effects. It has been said of certain classics that their concertos were written not ‘for’ but ‘against’ the piano.” Echoing Ravel’s words, I add that, while wildly different, these three concerti are written “for” and not “against” the piano. The pianist may be a companion rather than a soloist, an integral part of the orchestral tapestry and a friend.

- Daria Rabotkina



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