Caprice Bohemien, Op. 12/Rachmaninoff
August 15, 2011
Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) composed the Caprice Bohemien from 1892-1894 spending a total of three months on the work. He thought well enough of the early work to give it an opus and it fell between his “Six Morceaux” and 1st Symphony a nightmare that sent him into the arms of depression. The seventeen minute piece is nothing like his fellow countrymen Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov and their “Capriccio Italien” and “Capriccio Espagnol” due to the almost funeral like passages found in his Caprice.
The Caprice doesn’t begin as one but begins with a loud quick tempo from the timpani followed by a dark mysterious melody from the horns and then the woodwinds. This briefly leads to a very lively gypsy melody offered by the orchestra but ends quickly and returns to the darker bleak material. After a pause a new theme is introduced a yearning longing for lost love melody that offers hope. It slowly builds to a lively dance where you could see a gypsy dancing with her skirt twirling. It is a pretty theme that is the crowning point of the work. The violins are playing at a frantic pace as it builds to a rousing conclusion. The string section certainly got their arm exercise!
The performance of the BBC Philharmonic under the baton of Gianandrea Noseda is superb and the engineers of the Chandos team recorded it nicely. A nice rich recording with good treble and bass make this a pleasure to listen to over and over again. This work is coupled with his 3rd Symphony and Prince Rostislav and is part of a continuing series of recordings by Chandos of the works of Rachmaninoff. Highly recommended.
Total Time is 17:55
Chandos CD# 10677
BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda