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Video on demand: Concert Club: Rach 3 with Anna Fedorova

The Bachtrack Concert Club is a series of videos personally curated by our editors, who hand-picked pieces from the fantastic performances in our on-demand archive.

Alison Karlin selects Anna Fedorova's performance of Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto with the North West German Philharmonic. We caught up with Fedorova recently for a Q & A on her musical background and her thoughts about the work. Anna also answered questions on our twitter.

Rachmaninov - Third Piano Concerto

By some considered the most challenging piano concerto in the repertoire, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 3 didn’t enjoy immediate success, having been shunned by the pianist to whom it was dedicated, Josef Hofmann, who never performed it (perhaps frightened by the technical difficulties it posed).

Any performer of the work has to navigate both the lush Romanticism of the piece as well as tackling the fiendish fast passages of chords in both hands. It was championed by Vladimir Horowitz and in 1942, after attending a performance of the work, Rachmaninov said, “This is the way I always dreamed my concerto should be played, but I never expected to hear it that way on Earth."

In 1997, thanks to the film, Shine, about the troubled Australian pianist David Helfgott, the piece grew greatly in popularity and obtained its nickname Rach 3.

You can listen to the Horowitz performance on YouTube, and certainly his muscularity in playing comes across very strongly - as does the bounciness of his staccato playing which is quite extraordinary.

For a brief introduction to the piece I’m handing over to pianist Nikolai Lugansky who provided this short talk for the Philharmonia Orchestra. If you don’t know Rach 3, try to give it a listen before the club.

Alison Karlin

Recorded at Concertgebouw: Main Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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