Synopsis of some of the most popular classical music compositions prepared for Internet radio's "a MUSIClassical Concert" at www.theClassicStation.com and www.ClassicalMusic.network
Rachmaninoff Three Russian Songs Op 41
The Three Russian Songs, Op. 41 (Trois Chansons Russes; Tri Russkie Pesni) for chorus and orchestra (also seen as Three Russian Folk Songs) were written by Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1926. It is the last of Rachmaninoff's three works for chorus and orchestra, the others being the cantata Spring, Op. 20 (1902), and the choral symphony The Bells, Op. 35 (1913). The work takes about 15 minutes to perform.
The thematic material for the work came from three traditional folk songs:
Через речку (Cherez rechku; Across the River, Swift River), Moderato, was a song Rachmaninoff had probably heard for the first time by the touring Moscow Art Theatre's opera studio a year or so before
Ах ты, Ванька (Akh ty, Vanka; Ah, You Vanka! You Devil-May-Care Fellow), Largo, had been sung to him by Feodor Chaliapin
Белилицы, румяницы, вы мои (Belilitsy, rumyanitsy, vy moi; You, My Fairness, My Rosy Cheeks), Allegro moderato, was a favourite of Nadezhda Plevitskaya.
The Three Russian Songs were dedicated to Leopold Stokowski, who conducted the first performance in Philadelphia on 18 March 1927 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. The program also included the world premiere of Rachmaninoff's Fourth Piano Concerto, with the composer as soloist. The Three Russian Songs were favourably received by the critics, the concerto less so. The pair of works was repeated on 19 March, and given in New York on 22 March, with similar critical reactions.