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BI 1751
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BI 1751

RACHMANINOV, S.: Isle of the Dead (The) / The Rock / Symphonic Dances (Bergen Philharmonic, Litton)

The Classical Shop
release date: January 2013

Recorded in 24 Bit / 44.1Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2012


Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi Chamber Orchestra

Litton, Andrew

Andrew Litton



Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 70:14
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RACHMANINOV, S.: Isle of the Dead (The) / The Rock / Symphonic Dances (Bergen Philharmonic, Litton)

Select Complete Single Disc for



Ostrov myortvikh (The Isle of the Dead), Op. 29


Utyos (The Rock), Op. 7


Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

3 I. Non allegro 11:22
4 II. Andante con moto (Tempo di valse) 9:23
5 III. Lento assai - Allegro vivace - Lento assai - Come prima - Allegro vivace 14:13
 Andrew Litton Conductor
 Litton, Andrew

 The programme on this album include Rachmaninov’s last work, the Symphonic Dances (1941) as well as The Rock, his first published orchestral work, but opens with The Isle of the Dead from 1909. Inspired by the painting of the same name by Arnold Böcklin, Rachmaninov based almost the entire thematic material on the four-note figure which stalks through so much of his music: the first notes of the plainchant setting of the Dies iræ, describing the terrors of the Last Judgement. The motif was Rachmaninov’s musical symbol for death – an ever-present spectre, sometimes feared, sometimes welcomed – and it impregnates the whole fabric of The Isle of the Dead. If The Rock, inspired by an image from a short story by Chekhov, is a youthful work by a composer just turned twenty, the Symphonic Dances, written almost 50 years later, sum up a lifetime’s musical and emotional experience. The title of the work doesn’t reveal a programme of any kind, but when Rachmaninov suggested it to the choreographer Mikhail Fokine as the score for a possible ballet, he explained that its three movements followed the sequence Midday – Twilight – Midnight, possibly a description of life’s journey from youth through middle age to old age. Andrew Litton and his Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra have already proven their skills in the Russian repertoire, with recordings of music by Stravinsky (‘If you’re looking for a freshly painted Petrushka or a Rite to shake you up a bit, this is shockingly good’ - International Record Review and Prokofiev ‘An exceptional Romeo and Juliet, to be placed right next to the great ones’, Crescendo.

"... There’s a whole lot to enjoy here: BIS’s fantastically solid, warm, inviting, spacious SACD sound the incisive playing and luxurious tone of the bergen Philharmonic and maestro Litton’s cogent, superbly paced interpretations that perfectly capture Rachmaninoff’s lush, autumnal, sometimes morose sound world ..."

Lawrence Hanson - American Record Guide - July/August 2013

                      Performance  *****      Recording *****

"This is a very impressive programme of Rachmaninov’s most important orchestral works outside the symphonies: performances distinguished by expressive warmth, an intense sense of conviction and very fine playing from the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra... All in all, a splendid disc - superb sound, too."

Calum MacDonald - BBC Music magazine - April 2013

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