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Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra release a new Rachmaninoff album

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Rachmaninoff
© Georg Etheredge

The Philadelphia Orchestra and their Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin are embarking on another project of Rachmaninoff’s works, presenting his three Symphonies and other orchestral works. When Rachmaninoff’s 1st Symphony was premiered in 1897 by a badly prepared orchestra the performance turned out to be a disaster which obviously hurt the young composer deeply, not even 24 years old. Yet, later decades proved this early work to be absolutely worth a listen when performed by a first-class orchestra and conductor.

This album is the first of three Rachmaninoff releases with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, followed by recordings of Symphony No. 2 and The Isle of the Death in 2022 and, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninoff’s birthday in 2023, Symphony No. 3 and The Bells.

This first album featuring Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1 & Symphonic Dances is released today, 29 January 2021!

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s symphonic works, among the most powerful and popular in the concert repertoire, hold a special place in the story of one of America’s greatest musical ensembles. The Philadelphia Orchestra and its Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin are about to add a thrilling new chapter with the landmark launch of a cycle of Rachmaninoff’s three symphonies and other orchestral scores for Deutsche Grammophon. The project follows naturally from their recordings of the Russian Romantic composer’s piano concertos with Daniil Trifonov, the most recent of which – Destination Rachmaninov · Arrival – is in the running for a 2021 Grammy Award.

The first album pairs the early Symphony No.1 with the Symphonic Dances, Rachmaninoff’s last major composition, written for and dedicated to The Philadelphia Orchestra and its then conductor Eugene Ormandy and premiered by them 80 years ago this month. The second (Symphony No.2 and The Isle of the Dead) will be issued in early 2022, while the third and final recording (Symphony No.3 and The Bells) will appear as part of the commemorations of the composer’s 150th birthday in April 2023.

Nézet-Séguin has recorded a series of webisodes about the three albums for DG. Speaking about the repertoire on the first release, he says, “Conducting Rachmaninoff’s cycle of symphonic works is a fascinating journey: there’s nearly 45 years between the First Symphony and the Symphonic Dances – they’re almost the Alpha and Omega of his life as a creator.” Summing up the recording experience with his players as a whole, he concludes, “It’s just a true joy to do it with the orchestra that Rachmaninoff himself billed as the best in the world.”

“We’re immensely proud of our relationship with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and delighted with his Rachmaninoff recordings with The Philadelphia Orchestra for the Yellow Label,” comments Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “The Philadelphia Orchestra performed and recorded with the composer and brought joy to his final years. Yannick understands the value of tradition and of his orchestra’s unique legacy as champions of Rachmaninoff’s music. Beyond that he has the special genius required to reveal compelling insights into some of the best-known of all orchestral works. His new symphonic cycle will be the starting point for the celebration of Rachmaninoff’s anniversary year in 2023. And above and beyond that it’s sure to stand as an enduring measure of the very best in classical music.”

“Rachmaninoff wrote with the sound of The Philadelphia Orchestra in mind, and that special musical connection comes across movingly in this recording,” adds Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky. “In collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon, we celebrate this rich history and Rachmaninoff’s extraordinary music, brought to life in a way only possible with Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra.”

Each of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Rachmaninoff albums will also be available to download in Dolby Atmos format, underlining Deutsche Grammophon’s commitment to the immersive listening experience and crystal-clear quality of Dolby’s sound technology. Rachmaninoff’s romantic melodies, rich orchestrations and sonorous harmonies are ideally suited to the purity and precision of Dolby Atmos.

Having signed an exclusive contract with DG in May 2018, Yannick Nézet-Séguin is also set to release his Yellow Label debut album as solo pianist in spring 2021. 

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1 & Symphonic Dances
RACHMANINOFF Symphony No. 1 · Symphonic Dances / Nézet-Séguin
Jan 29, 2021

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