The Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 are among the final compositions of Sergei Rachmaninov. Aware that his time on earth was finite, he even added the inscription "I Thank Thee, Lord" at the bottom of the manuscript, as if he wanted to bid farewell forever.
Composed entirely in the United States where he had settled since 1918, this orchestral suite blossomed in Rachmaninov's second creative period. In fact—just like his third symphony (composed four years earlier)—the Symphonic Dances show the composer's intention to explore new musical directions (particularly the innovative use of the alto saxophone as a solo instrument).
However, the Symphonic Dances are also filled with melancholic notes, evoking the Russia of his childhood and the Orthodox liturgical chants that continuously enchanted him. Thus, by blending the modernity of the United States with the traditions of Russia, the Symphonic Dances exhibit a synthesis that is as biographical as it is prophetic.
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