Symphony No.4, Op.13 (Dvořák, Antonín)
String quartets No. This article about a symphony is a stub.
It is not even a question of his conducting technique, poor as that is, but of his musicianship; he beats time as if he had no feeling for music at all. While his opinion of Glazunov's conducting may have been justified, it was his own doubts about the Symphony itself that caused Rachmaninoff the most grief.
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Years later he recalled, "The despair that filled my soul would not leave me. My dreams of a brilliant career lay shattered. My hopes and confidence were destroyed.
It was not until the end of that he got round to consulting Dr Nikolai Dahl, a psychotherapist who was able to bring him out of his funk in April of the following year, after nearly five months of almost daily sessions. The treatment got Rachmaninoff back in such good shape that he proceeded to compose his immensely successful Second Piano Concerto which he dedicated to Dr Dahl , but he did not reconsider his First Symphony, then or at any time later; his only acknowledgement of it lay in his labeling his next symphony "No.
A further acknowledgement of sorts is to be found in the half-echoes of the Symphony's first movement in that of Rachmaninoff's valedictory work, the Symphonic Dances of While Rachmaninoff did not go as far as actually destroying the score of the First Symphony, he did not bother to take it with him when he left Russia to settle in the West, and for decades it was regarded as lost. It was not until a few months after his death that a two-piano transcription came to light in Moscow; then a set of orchestral parts was discovered at the St Petersburg then called Leningrad Conservatory, and a full score was assembled from this material.
When the Symphony was performed in in Moscow , for the first time since its premiere, it was a grand success, and this led to a new and more enthusiastic evaluation of Rachmaninoff's music in his homeland. In March Eugene Ormandy conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra in the similarly successful American premiere, and the work proceeded to establish itself in the general repertory.
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This "Capriccio for Large Orchestra, Based on Gypsy Themes," is thought to have been a gesture toward the enchanting wife of Pyotr Lodyzhensky, the friend to whom Rachmaninoff dedicated that score. Anna Lodyzhenska was of Gypsy parentage, and the young Rachmaninoff, whose opera Aleko was based on Pushkin's poem The Gypsies , seems to have been under her spell at the time. He dedicated his First Symphony to Anna herself, but in the discreet form of her initials only; it was apparently the last time she figures in his musical thoughts.
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There is another "Anna" possibly connected with this score, at the end of which Rachmaninoff wrote enigmatically, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay. It has been suggested, too, that in repeating Tolstoy's inscription Rachmaninoff simply indicated his wish to forge a link in the chain of continuity of the Russian creative sprit in both music and literature; and the words may have had a totally unrelated, more personal meaning for the young composer, who may have chosen them to connect his real-life Anna, for whatever reason, with Tolstoy's heroine.
Rachmaninoff never elucidated that point, but the opening of the Symphony Grave does suggest the continuity of the Russian symphonic tradition, through its fleeting but noticeable resemblance to the opening of Borodin's Symphony No. A theme then appears which is to be heard, in variously altered form, in all of the succeeding movements; if its shape seems vaguely familiar, listeners acquainted with Rachmaninoff's subsequent works may recognize it as related to the Dies irae , the ancient chant for the dead, a motif he had cited in his tone poem Prince Rostislav and was to use in varying degrees of prominence in virtually every major work he produced until the end of his life.
Such a reference would certainly not be out of place in a work bearing the motto inscribed at the end of this score, and in a sense the entire Symphony might be regarded as an elaborate sequence of variations on that famous motif, which never quite appears in its unaltered form. The material of the first movement proper Allegro ma non troppo is worked up to awesome proportions, much in the manner of Rimsky-Korsakov's treatment of old liturgical themes in his Russian Easter Overture.
But it is possible to find almost anything and everything Russian in this movement--from echoes of Tchaikovsky to anticipations of Shostakovich.
What is most conspicuously and unmistakably present is the distinctive personal style, by turns brooding and lyrical and yearning, that was to stamp virtually all of Rachmaninoff's music as his, even more emphatically than his persistent reference to the Dies irae.