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Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

Here’s a hint: It’s a tour-de-force if there ever was one!

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto is widely regarded as one of the most difficult piano concertos ever written. Any pianist who takes on the task of performing this brilliant work finds it to be both physically and musically taxing. The work plays a central role in the film Shine, staring Geoffrey Rush in the true story of Australian concert pianist David Helfgott. Helfgott, a promising young pianist, goes against his abusive father’s wishes and enrolls at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London. He enters a school-wide concerto competition and chooses the Rachmaninoff 3rd Concerto as his entry selection. As time passes, though, he becomes increasingly manic and eventually suffers a massive mental breakdown in the middle of the competition. The film ends on a high note, though, as Helfgott takes the stage in a come-back concert after many years of struggle with his mental illness.

Music Heard On This Episode

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Piano Concerto No. 3: Finale
Martha Argerich, piano; Riccardo Chailly/Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin — Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 / Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 (Philips, 1995)
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Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Piano Concerto No. 3: Finale
Martha Argerich, piano; Riccardo Chailly/Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin — Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 / Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 (Philips, 1995)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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