24:07 Lugansky – Rachmaninoff, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Sergey Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in A minor, Op. 43 (1934)
Nikolai Lugansky, soloist
Alexander Vedernikov conducting Russian National Orchestra
December 26, 2017

[0:00] Introduction: Allegro vivace
[0:17] Var. 1:(Précédente)
[0:37] Tema: L’istesso tempo
[0:56] Var. 2: L’istesso tempo
[1:16] Var. 3: L’istesso tempo
[1:41] Var. 4: Più vivo
[2:11] Var. 5: Tempo precedente
[2:40] Var. 6: L’istesso tempo
[3:42] Var. 7: Meno mosso, a tempo moderato
[4:54] Var. 8: Tempo I
[5:29] Var. 9: L’istesso tempo
[6:01] Var. 10: Poco marcato

[6:51] Var. 11: Moderato
[8:12] Var. 12: Tempo di minuetto
[9:35] Var. 13: Allegro
[10:06] Var. 14: L’istesso tempo
[10:52] Var. 15: Più vivo scherzando
[11:58] Var. 16: Allegretto
[13:36] Var. 17: (Allegretto)
[15:32] Var. 18: Andante cantabile

[18:32] Tempo vivace
[18:37] Var. 19: L’istesso tempo
[19:05] Var. 20: Un poco più vivo
[19:41] Var. 21: Un poco più vivo
[20:07] Var. 22: Un poco più vivo (Alla breve)
[21:54] Var. 23: L’istesso tempo
[22:49] Var. 24: A tempo un poco meno mosso

‘Rachmaninoff summed up his life as a composer shortly before his death (in Beverly Hills, his final home): “In my own compositions, no conscious effort has been made to be original, or Romantic, or Nationalistic, or anything else. I write down on paper the music I hear within me, as naturally as possible. I am a Russian composer, and the land of my birth has influenced my temperament and outlook. My music is the product of my temperament, and so it is Russian music…. I have been strongly influenced by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov; but I have never, to the best of my knowledge, imitated anyone. What I try to do when writing down my music, is to make it say simply and directly that which is in my heart when I am composing. If there is love there, or bitterness, or sadness, or religion, these moods become part of my music, and it becomes either beautiful or bitter or sad or religious.”

Withal, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is one of his least sentimental pieces – with the exception of that swooning 18th variation, which is really a tour de force of variation style, in which the minor-key Paganini theme is inverted to become a major-key, inescapably Russian theme.
[…] The Rhapsody – actually, there is nothing rhapsodic about its tightly focused structure – comprises an introduction followed by 24 variations on the last of Niccolò Paganini’s 24 caprices for solo violin (a set of variations in itself). The theme was a favorite subject of 19th-century composers for large-scale variations works, among them Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms. But Rachmaninoff had his own, highly original thoughts on the subject, his grandest inspiration being the combining of the theme by the “devilish” violinist with the hellish medieval liturgical Dies irae theme, which is heard in the 7th, 10th, and 24th variations.’

– Herbert Glass, LA Philharmonic