Three Russian Songs, Op. 41 (Rachmaninoff)

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The Three Russian Songs, Op. 41 (Trois Chansons Russes; Tri Russkie Pesni) for chorus and orchestra (also seen as Three Russian Folk Songs) were written by Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1926. It is the last of Rachmaninoff's three works for chorus and orchestra, the others being the cantata Spring , Op. 20 (1902), and the choral symphony The Bells , Op. 35 (1913). The work takes about 15 minutes to perform.

Sergei Rachmaninoff Russian composer, pianist, and conductor

Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, virtuoso pianist and conductor of the late Romantic period, some of whose works are among the most popular in the Romantic repertoire.

A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir.

<i>Spring</i> (Rachmaninoff) cantata by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Spring (Vesna), Op. 20, is a single-movement cantata for baritone, chorus and orchestra, written by Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1902.

The thematic material for the work came from three traditional folk songs:

Feodor Chaliapin Russian opera singer and actor

Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin was a Russian opera singer. Possessing a deep and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses and is often credited with establishing the tradition of naturalistic acting in his chosen art form.

Nadezhda Plevitskaya Russian singer

Nadezhda Vasilievna Plevitskaya was a popular female Russian singer and a Soviet agent.

The Three Russian Songs were dedicated to Leopold Stokowski, who conducted the first performance in Philadelphia on 18 March 1927 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. [3] The program also included the world premiere of Rachmaninoff's Fourth Piano Concerto, with the composer as soloist. The Three Russian Songs were favourably received by the critics, the concerto less so. [4] The pair of works was repeated on 19 March, and given in New York on 22 March, with similar critical reactions. [2]

Leopold Stokowski British conductor

Leopold Anthony Stokowski was an English conductor of Polish and Irish descent. One of the leading conductors of the early and mid-20th century, he is best known for his long association with the Philadelphia Orchestra and his appearance in the Disney film Fantasia. He was especially noted for his free-hand conducting style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from the orchestras he directed.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Philadelphia Orchestra orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, the orchestra is based at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, where it performs its subscription concerts, numbering over 130 annually, in Verizon Hall.

The songs are scored for altos and basses only, and they sing mostly in unison. The orchestration is quite extensive, although all the instruments rarely play simultaneously: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, percussion, harp, piano and strings.

The musical term alto, meaning "high" in Italian, refers to the second highest part of a contrapuntal musical texture and is also applied to its associated vocal range, especially in choral music. It is also the root word of contralto, the lowest standard female voice type. When designating instruments, "alto" likewise can refer either to the corresponding vocal range or to musical role. The term "alto" is also used to designate a specific kind of musical clef; see alto clef.

A bass ( BAYSS) is a type of classical male singing voice and has the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a vocal range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C (i.e., E2–E4). Its tessitura, or comfortable range, is normally defined by the outermost lines of the bass clef. Categories of bass voices vary according to national style and classification system. Italians favour subdividing basses into the basso cantante (singing bass), basso buffo ("funny" bass), or the dramatic basso profondo (low bass). The American system identifies the bass-baritone, comic bass, lyric bass, and dramatic bass. The German fach system offers further distinctions: Spielbass (Bassbuffo), Schwerer Spielbass (Schwerer Bassbuffo), Charakterbass (Bassbariton), and Seriöser Bass. These classification systems can overlap. Rare is the performer who embodies a single fach without also touching repertoire from another category.

It seems likely that the choir for the first three performances was augmented by local Russian Orthodox priests who could reach the bass notes required by Rachmaninoff. The conductor Igor Buketoff recalled that he attended the rehearsals as an eleven-year-old boy in the company of his father, a priest and a friend of Rachmaninoff's. The composer had asked the senior Buketoff to acquire the services of some of his fellow priests with basso profundo voices.

Russian Orthodox Church autocephalous Orthodox Christian church, headquartered in Moscow, Russia

The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'. The ROC, as well as the primate thereof, officially ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence, immediately below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church, those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019.

Igor Buketoff was an American conductor, arranger and teacher. He had a special affinity with Russian music and with Sergei Rachmaninoff in particular. He also strongly promoted British contemporary music, and new music in general.

Buketoff also reports that Stokowski took the final song too quickly for Rachmaninoff's liking, but would not be persuaded to obey the composer's instructions. When Buketoff himself programmed the piece some years later as a choral conductor at the Juilliard School, he approached Rachmaninoff for advice as to the exact tempo he had envisaged. [5]

Juilliard School American performing arts conservatory in New York City

The Juilliard School, informally referred to as Juilliard and located in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, is a performing arts conservatory established in 1905. The school trains about 850 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music. It is widely regarded as one of the world's leading drama, music and dance schools, with some of the most prestigious arts programs. In 2016, QS Quacquarelli Symonds ranked it as the world's best institution for Performing Arts in their inaugural global ranking of the discipline.

The Three Russian Songs have been recorded several times, including by Leopold Stokowski himself, Igor Buketoff, Charles Dutoit and Yevgeny Svetlanov. The music has also been used as the basis of a ballet. [6]

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Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is an American composer, the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Her early works are marked by atonal exploration, but by the late 1980s she had shifted to a post-modernist, neo-romantic style. She has been called "one of America’s most frequently played and genuinely popular living composers." She was a 1994 inductee into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Zwilich currently serves as the Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor at Florida State University.

The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, is a concertante work written by Sergei Rachmaninoff. It is written for solo piano and symphony orchestra, closely resembling a piano concerto, albeit in a single movement. The work was written at his Villa, the Villa Senar, in Switzerland, according to the score, from July 3 to August 18, 1934. Rachmaninoff himself, a noted interpreter of his own works, played the solo piano part at the piece's premiere at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 7, 1934 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Rachmaninoff, Stokowski, and the Philadelphia Orchestra made the first recording, on December 24, 1934, at RCA Victor's Trinity Church Studio in Camden, New Jersey.

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The Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, is a concerto for piano and orchestra composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff between the autumn of 1900 and April 1901. The second and third movements were first performed with the composer as soloist on 2 December 1900. The complete work was premiered, again with the composer as soloist, on 9 November 1901, with his cousin Alexander Siloti conducting.

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Sergei Rachmaninoff recordings

Sergei Vasilievich RachmaninoffRussian pronunciation: [sʲɪrˈɡʲej rɐxˈmanʲɪnəf]; 1 April [O.S. 20 March] 1873 – 28 March 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered as one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music.

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