The orchestra has the opportunity to sing some of Rachmaninov’s most beautiful and passionate melodies in the composer’s second symphony, which has proven to be a signature piece for the the Oslo Philharmonic.
That Rachmaninov was to compose a second symphony was not to be taken for granted. His first symphony had been torn apart by critics following its miserable premiere in 1897, which had seen him plummet into a deep depression which lasted several years. Doctor Nikolai Dahl helped the composer to get on his feet again, and in the wake of his recovery he composed what was to be a phenomenal success − his second piano concerto.
Nevertheless, a few more years passed before he embarked on his next symphonic project, about which he was full of doubt. “It’s not natural for me to compose symphonies” he is said to have declared. In the end, however, he himself conducted the world premiere in St Petersburg, in 1908. This time, both critics and audiences responded enthusiastically, and Rachmaninov received the Glinka prize for the work.
(In photo: Vasily Petrenko; Photo: CF Wesenberg)
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