Kirill Petrenko conducts Sergei Rachmaninoff On 2 CD and Blu-ray

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The music of Rachmaninoff is of “enormous significance” to Kirill Petrenko. In it, he finds his “musical home”. His third edition together with the Berliner Philharmoniker is dedicated to the Russian composer, the 150th anniversary of whose birth was celebrated in 2023. It presents four key works: the Second Symphony, the Piano Concerto No. 2 and The Isle of the Dead – Rachmaninoff regularly performed them together until his emigration in 1917 – and the Symphonic Dances, which the composer wrote shortly before his death. As a tribute to Rachmaninoff, the recordings are released on 2 CDs and Blu-ray in a hardcover box with an accompanying book designed by photo artist Thomas Struth, and in-depth introductory texts.

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Sergei Rachmaninoff himself was the soloist for the premiere of his Second Piano Concerto in 1901 – a triumph that laid the foundation for the pianist and composer’s brilliant international career. With its intense, passionate character, yearning melodies and lush late-Romantic harmonies, the work remains one of the most popular of its genre to this day. Chief conductor Kirill Petrenko and pianist Kirill Gerstein, who presented the piece with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the 2022 Waldbühne concert, share a deeply felt love for Rachmaninoff’s music.

In 1906, the composer, by then in his early 30s, wrote the centrepiece of this edition: his Second Symphony. After the fiasco of his First Symphony, the successful premiere of his Second Symphony signalled a rehabilitation of the symphonist. It is a self-assured work in which Rachmaninoff defied the neoclassical trends of the early 20th century, remained true to tonality, and anticipated the style of Hollywood film music with his soulful tonal language. Kirill Petrenko emphasises not only the tremendous emotional content of the music but also its masterful textures.

The quintuple time of the symphonic poem
The Isle of the Dead rocks like a boat on rough seas. Rachmaninoff was inspired by a black and white copy of Arnold Böcklin’s painting of the same name. The ominous Dies irae motif from the funeral liturgy appears again and again not only here, but also in other works by the composer – a veritable obsession of Rachmaninoff.

While in American exile and suffering from homesickness, Rachmaninoff drew a poignant conclusion to his oeuvre a few years before his death with the
Symphonic Dances: quotations from his symphonies are intermingled with an examination of the American way of life in the era of industrialisation – and the Dies Irae motif is heard again and again. The composer himself considered the Symphonic Dances to be his best work – and so they form the perfect conclusion to this homage by the Berliner Philharmoniker to Sergei Rachmaninoff, the 150th anniversary of whose birth was celebrated in 2023.

 

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Berliner Philharmoniker
Kirill Petrenko
Kirill Gerstein
piano

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, op. 27
The Isle of the Dead op. 29
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in C minor, op. 18
Symphonic Dances op. 45

Available versions

  • CD & Blu-ray

    Kirill Petrenko conducts Sergei Rachmaninoff

    On 2 CD and Blu-ray

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    2 CD · 1 Blu-ray (Video)

    Accompanying book
    Hardcover, 116 pages

    Download code
    Audio files of the entire album in 24 bit and up to 192 kHz

    Digital Concert Hall
    7-day ticket to the Berliner Philharmoniker’s video streaming platform

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    US$ 59.00
    Excl. shipping
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    Kirill Petrenko conducts Sergei Rachmaninoff

    24-bit Download

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    Provided Formats
    Audio files of the entire album in 24 bit and up to 192 kHz

    Digital Booklet
    
116 pages / German, Englisch

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    US$ 31.45
    Excl. shipping

Video trailer