I have been practising Rach 3 for some time now... I am playing the piece on Feb the 20th, in a concert hall in Athens. Not with an orchestra (alas!) but with a second piano. It's actually a quite clever arrangement, I think: in the first part of the concert, I am playing the aforementioned work while in the second part, the pianist who accompanies me will play his piano concerto (Chopin 2) and I will be his "orchestra". We began rehearsals some months ago, and it seems to me that the "project" (quite unusual, by Greek standards at least!) is going fairly well.
I played Rach Three about 10 years ago (in Athens and in London), but things are not that easy any more, in terms of practising! (full time work, three children...). Anyhow, I am doing my best to play this wonderful concert as well as I can.
It is, in my view, Rachmaninoff's best piano concerto, greater than the Second in terms of maturity and musicality. It is also technically the hardest. For me, the main challenge is to be able to play it through to the end without getting really exhausted. I still have about 15 days to go, so I am not that stressed yet!!
There are so many things I 'd like to write about this concerto, so let's call this post "part 1", and I will continue...