Firma Melodiya presents a set of orchestral and vocal/symphonic compositions by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Rachmaninoff was a recognized author of piano music already in his lifetime. His works in other genres may not be as popular, but as a symphonist Rachmaninoff ranks as one of the greatest Russian composers. His symphonies and single-movement orchestral compositions which inherited Tchaikovsky's elevated emotional vigour and conflicting dramatic qualities, combined the achievements of different branches of Russian music, including Borodin's and Glazunov's epic power, Rimsky-Korsakov's colourful orchestration, Taneyev polyphonic prowess and Balakirev's oriental passion. Rachmaninoff did not part with the symphonic genre all his life. He composed his initial works such as The Rock and Caprice bohémien were composed in the early 1890s soon after his graduation from the Moscow Conservatory, while Symphony No. 3 and Symphonic Dances concluded his last, American period.
Rachmaninoff's contribution to vocal and choral music, both sacred and secular, is as essential. His three cantatas composed in different years also reflect the composer's creative evolution – Spring full of a happy feeling of rejuvenation, gloomy and pessimistic The Bells and nostalgic Three Russian Songs.
Rachmaninoff's symphonic works and cantatas are performed by the USSR State Orchestra conducted by Evgeni Svetlanov, one of the best interpreters of Rachmaninoff's music, and the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Philharmonic Society led by People's Artist of the USSR Dmitri Kitayenko.