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In his Third Symphony, Rachmaninov looks forward from the traditions of his Russian heritage to forge a language of luxuriant emotional expressiveness.
Rachmaninov composed the work during the summers of 1935 and 1936, at his Bauhaus-styled summer home on the lake at Lucerne, where he surrounded himself with Russianness, but added the latest mod cons, including a dashing new speedboat.
The combination of Russian heritage and modernist exhilaration seems to capture something of the symphony’s musical character, where Rachmaninov explores a rich terrain of thoughts and reflections with music that is by turns vivacious, sweetly melancholic, and ultimately ecstatic. Mozart’s sparkling overture to The Marriage of Figaro opens the concert with an energy that has delighted audiences for hundreds of years.