Albany Symphony Presents “Rachmaninoff’s Third” Concert Saturday, March 13th

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Concert to feature the Third Concerto performed by world-renowned pianist, Inon Barnatan; Of Rain and Air by composer Carlos Bandera; and Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano.

The Albany Symphony’s “Rachmaninoff Third” will feature one of the most beautiful and technically challenging piano concertos ever composed, a commissioned work by young Spanish-American composer Carlos Bandera, and Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano on Saturday, March 13th at 7:30pm at Universal Preservation Hall. The event will be live streamed in real-time from the Saratoga Springs venue. There will be a pre-concert talk at 7:00pm and a post-concert question and answer session with the artists for season subscribers.

Concerts will be live and virtual, with the ability to purchase access online at http://www.albanysymphony.com or by calling the Albany Symphony Box Office at 518-694-3300. Subscribers are also invited to attend a pre-concert chat and a post-concert, real-time “talk-back” session with guest composers, soloists, and Maestro Miller.

About the Composers/Performers:

Carlos Bandera’s latest work, Of Rain and Air, is inspired by a poem by Wayne Dodd, which the composer came across in a book the Albany Symphony gifted him a few months ago. His piece explores two musical elements: a delicate, shimmering background, and brief swells that are scattered throughout the orchestra. In the second half of the piece, the swells become more focused until they are played by multiple-instruments simultaneously.

When he first started working on Of Rain and AirBandera wanted to write a piece that used small swells that are scattered throughout the orchestra as a metaphor for moments in our lives that we hold onto and try to savor. As he composed the second half of the piece, where these moments emerge separated from one another, he began to realize that the piece was not just about the moments when we are able to be present, but also about the process towards that kind of focus. One of the many reasons he loves Wayne Dodd’s poem is that it feels like the speaker in the poem is undergoing this process and, by the end, is able to take in the world around them with such clarity that they are able to hear the rain whispering to them and see brightness in the night surrounding them.

“We are delighted to be presenting Carlos Bandera’s new work. He is a wonderful composer. We are also so excited to collaborate for the first time with the incredible Israeli pianist, Inon Barnatan. He is an absolutely world-class soloist, and a leading exponent of this amazing Concerto. The Rachmaninoff Third is reputed to be the most technically virtuosic, difficult Piano Concerto in the entire repertoire, and also one of the most gloriously Romantic of all concertos. The Respighi, inspired by the works of great Renaissance painter, Boticelli (“The Birth of Venus” etc.), is also a gorgeous work.  We hope everyone will transform their homes into virtual concert halls to join us for this sumptuous, unforgettable concert,” said Music Director David Alan Miller. 

Inon Barnatan, born in Tel Aviv in 1979, started playing the piano at age three, when his parents discovered his perfect pitch.  He made his orchestral debut at age eleven.According to the New York Times, Barnatan is “one of the most admired pianists of his generation,” celebrated for his poetic sensibility, musical intelligence, and consummate artistry. Some of Barnatan’s recent orchestral highlights over the last few years have included Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with Alan Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, a complete Beethoven concerto cycle with New Jersey’s Princeton Symphony, Rachmaninov with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Israel Philharmonic, Copland with the Oregon Symphony, and Mozart with the Houston Symphony and the Australian Chamber Orchestra at Lincoln Center. He is a regular performer with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors. He served from 2014-2017 as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic. Barnatan is also the recipient of a prestigious 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes “young artists of exceptional accomplishment.”

When Sergei Rachmaninoff began composing his Third Piano Concerto, he had to compete with the great success of his Second Piano Concerto.  He began composing the piano concerto in the summer of 1909 as he planned for his first American tour, which began in Northampton, Massachusetts. Due to timing, Rachmaninoff could not practice the piece while in Russia and instead had to practice on a silent keyboard he brought with him while en route to the United States. He premiered the new piano concerto with Walter Damrosch and the New York Symphony Society in New York City on November 28th. He then repeated the performance two days later at Carnegie Hall and performed it once more in 1910, this time with the Philharmonic, Gustav Mahler conducting. One interesting note about Rachmaninoff is that there was a point, right before composing the Second Piano Concerto, that he considered never writing music again. His confidence and self-esteem were shattered by the catastrophic premiere of his First Symphony in 1897. It took him two years of extensive counseling sessions, partly under hypnosis, to develop the courage to compose again. He dedicated that concerto to his therapist. 


Also on the program is Ottorino Respighi’s Trittico BotticellianoThe piece’s three movements are: Spring, Adoration of the Magi and The Birth of Venus. The movements each take their inspiration from a different painting by Sandro Botticelli, renowned artist of the Italian Renaissance. The composer’s orchestration is filled with color and nuances that mirror the subtlety of Botticelli’s palette. 


Respighi was a composer, violinist, and teacher who was considered one of the leading Italian composers and one of the greatest orchestrators of the early 20th century.  His works include operas, ballets, orchestral suites, choral songs, and chamber music. Among his best-known and most performed works are his three Roman tone poems, which brought him international fame 

For more information on the Albany Symphony 2021 summer season concert lineup visit: https://www.albanysymphony.com/upcomingconcerts

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