Late Rachmaninov is not early Rachmininov. It should be obvious, but some interpreters seem to try to shoehorn everything he wrote into the style of the young man who wrote the early piano concertos. There are flashes of brilliance in the third Symphony, but they are placed in the context of music which comes from a very different place, emotionally as well as physically, from the early works.
The RLPO has developed a particularly beautiful string sounds over the last few years with Petrenko, and it is present in this recording in all its splendour. The recorded sound is good, as you would expect, the only slight drawback being the high recording levels (although this seems to be the universal practice at the moment). It doesn't affect enjoyment of the recording though.
The reading of the 3rd Symphony is sublime and subtly original. Slower tempos, in places, allow the music to breathe and the detail to come through. Above all, this is a reading that allows the humanity of Rachmaninov's music to shine, without it being cuffed around the ears by over-showy playing in the "big" tunes.
If there were any doubt about the differing perspectives offered in Rachminov's work over time, the inclusion of the early Caprice Bohemien should make things plain. The playing here shows off the skills of the RLPO's musicians in a showy firework display. The Caprice is certainly not the most profound piece Rachmaninov ever wrote, but is fun, exciting, and of course the orchestration is superb.
Finally, there is an orchestrated "Vocalise". The performance is beautifully judged. Showy and exciting though his music often is, there is another side to Rachmininov, evident in both this tender interlude and the 3rd Symphony's regretful, but life-affirming arc.
A very recommendable recording.