Works from Sergei Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff in Lucerne

Sony Classical 2020

Unique recording and high-quality booklet

The «Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini» has been recorded for the first time ever on the composer’s original Steinway grand piano. Furthermore, the high-quality booklet contains previously unpublished photos from Rachmaninoff’s family album.

Rachmaninoff in Lucerne

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43
Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44
Lullaby, Op. 16, No. 1

Luzerner Sinfonieorchester
James Gaffigan, Conductor
Behzod Abduraimov, Piano

Price: CHF 30 incl. postage


Switzerland has always held a great attraction for Russian composers. Sergei Rachmaninoff even found his new home here. Not far from Lucerne, right by the lake, the renowned composer and pianist had the magnificent «Villa Senar» built in 1930 as a place to recover during his strenuous performing career. He also found peace and quiet here to compose. It was here in the summer of 1934 that he wrote his highly virtuosic «Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini» for piano and orchestra, and a year later his third symphony.

Both works have been recorded by the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester under the direction of James Gaffigan. The Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov plays the «Paganini Rhapsody» on Rachmaninoff’s original Steinway grand piano, which has been kept in the Villa Senar since 1934. The Paganini Rhapsody is based on a popular theme from Paganini’s solo Capricci for violin and was first performed in the USA in 1934 with Rachmaninoff at the piano. Rachmaninoff was celebrated for both his composing and his playing at his first and only appearance at the Lucerne International Music Festival in 1939. The Third Symphony was premiered in November 1936 by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. Its three movements reflect Rachmaninoff’s longing for his Russian homeland.

This limited first edition of the album is published as a high-quality hardcover booklet with CD. The 70-page booklet contains an informative essay on Rachmaninoff and the works recorded, written by a musicologist and a specialist from the Rachmaninoff Foundation. Also of interest are extracts from letters written by the composer. The booklet holds a particular appeal thanks to numerous previously unpublished photos of the composer, made available exclusively for this edition by the composer’s family and the Rachmaninoff Foundation.

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