Lukáš Vondráček © Irene Kim

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3Listen

Rach 3 and Bartok’s Best

This concert was played:

  1. Piano Concerto No. 3
  2. Concerto for Orchestra
  1. Vasily Petrenko conductor
  2. Lukáš Vondráček piano

The legendary “Rach 3” is for pianists what K2 signifies for mountain climbers — the challenge that simply must be overcome in order to reach the world summit.

Many piano careers stumble in failed attempts, but if you get past the technical obstacles and you’re still breathing, you’ll have the world at your fingertips. The young Lukáš Vondráček has succeded in this, and comes to Oslo to conquer and delight. The whole orchestra will have the opportunity to demonstrate its brilliance as Vasily Petrenko takes the lead in Bartók’s playful, inventive and brilliant Concerto for Orchestra.

But don’t be fooled. The hypnotically simple melody in the opening of Sergei Rachmaninov’s (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 3 (1909) is the beginning of a concerto which contains some of the most challenging passages and complex configurations in the entire piano repertoire. Fortunately, fates such as that of David Helfgott, the piano prodigy who was driven insane by his obsession in learning “Rach 3” are rare, as sensitively portrayed in the film Shine (1996). Piano Concerto No. 3 is still much more than a parade piece for ambitious pianists. It swells with Rachmaninov’s rich melodies, sparkles with a colourful Russian sound palate and reveals the composer at his very finest when it comes to expression, character and form.

Hungarian Béla Bartók (1881-1945) demonstrated at least an equal finesse when he composed Concerto for Orchestra (1943), where all the instruments in the orchestra are given solistic roles. The work is full of humour, particularly in the second movement “Game of Pairs”, where pairs of instruments dance playfully with each other in parallel intervals. A more private joke is Bartók’s ridicule of Shostakovich’s march motif from Symphony No. 7, “Leningrad. The Hungarian folk soul is never far from Bartók’s music and he constantly combines classical tradition and his own musical language with elements from folk music, often peppered with unusual scale types and chord structures, and coloured with the most varied and stunning orchestration imaginable. 

(Text: Thomas Erma Møller; Translation (from Norwegian): Sarah Osa; In photo: Lukáš Vondráček; Photo: Irene Kim)


  • Adult: 100 - 470 NOK
  • Senior: 100 - 375 NOK
  • Student: 100 - 235 NOK
  • Child: 100 NOK

The concert is included in the following subscriptions: