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Sergey Rachmaninov

April 1, 1873 - March 28, 1943
born in Semyonovo, Russia, composed during the Romantic period
Sergey Vasilyevich Rachmaninov, born in Semyonovo, Russia, on April 1, 1873, is today remembered as one of the most formidable pianists of all time and the last truly great composer in the Russian Romantic tradition. Rachmaninov came from a music-loving, land-owning family; young Sergey's mother fostered the boy's innate talent by giving him his first piano lessons. After a decline in the family fortunes, the Rachmaninovs moved to St. Petersburg, where Sergey studied with Vladimir Delyansky at the Conservatory. As his star continued to rise, Sergey went to the Moscow Conservatory, where he received a sound musical training: piano lessons from the strict disciplinarian Nikolay Zverev and Alexander Siloti (Rachmaninov's cousin), counterpoint with Taneyev, and harmony with Arensky. During his time at the Conservatory, Rachmaninov boarded with Zverev, whose weekly musical Sundays provided the young musician the valuable opportunity to make important contacts and to hear a wide variety of music.

As Rachmaninov's conservatory studies continued, his burgeoning talent came into full flower; he received the personal encouragement of Tchaikovsky, and, a year after earning a degree in piano, took the Conservatory's gold medal in composition for his opera Aleko (1892). Early setbacks in his compositional career -- particularly, the dismal reception of his Symphony No. 1 (1895) -- led to an extended period of depression and self-doubt, which he overcame with the aid of hypnosis. With the resounding success of his Piano Concerto No. 2 (1900-1901), however, his lasting fame as a composer was assured. The first decade of the twentieth century proved a productive and happy one for Rachmaninov, who during that time produced such masterpieces as the Symphony No. 2 (1907), the tone poem Isle of the Dead (1907), and the Piano Concerto No. 3 (1909). On May 12, 1902, the composer married his cousin, Natalya Satina.

By the end of the decade, Rachmaninov had embarked on his first American tour, which cemented his fame and popularity in the United States. He continued to make his home in Russia but left permanently following the Revolution in 1917; he thereafter lived in Switzerland and the United States between extensive European and American tours. While his tours included conducting engagements (he was twice offered, and twice refused, leadership of the Boston Symphony Orchestra), it was his astounding pianistic abilities which won him his greatest glory. Rachmaninov was possessed of a keyboard technique marked by precision, clarity, and a singular legato sense. Indeed, the pianist's hands became the stuff of legend. He had an enormous span -- he could, with his left hand, play the chord C-E flat-G-C-G -- and his playing had a characteristic power, which pianists have described as "cosmic" and "overwhelming." He is, for example, credited with the uncanny ability to discern, and articulate profound, mysterious movements in a musical composition which usually remain undetected by the superficial perception of rhythmic structures.

Fortunately for posterity, Rachmaninov recorded much of his own music, including the four piano concerti and what is perhaps his most beloved work, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (1934). He became an American citizen a few weeks before his death in Beverly Hills, CA, on March 28, 1943. ~ Michael Rodman, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Evening Star: The Rachmaninov Vespers

Title: Vespers (All-night Vigil), For Alto, Tenor & Chorus, Op. 37
x

Track List: Rachmaninoff: Moments Musicaux; Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 33; Variations On A Theme Of Corelli

Title: Moments Musicaux (6) For Piano, Op. 16
Title: Etudes-tableaux, For Piano, Op. 33
Title: Variations On A Theme Of Corelli, For Piano, Op. 42
x

Track List: Rachmaninoff: Preludes (complete)

Title: Prelude For Piano No.1 In C Sharp Minor ("The Bells Of Moscow"), Op. 3/2
Title: Preludes (10) For Piano, Op. 23
Title: Preludes (13) For Piano, Op. 32
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes/Piano Sonata No.2

Disc 1
Title: Prelude For Piano No.1 In C Sharp Minor ("The Bells Of Moscow"), Op. 3/2
Title: Preludes (10) For Piano, Op. 23
Title: Preludes (13) For Piano, Op. 32
Disc 2
Title: Piano Sonata No. 2 In B Flat Minor, Op.36
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil, "Vespers"

Title: Vespers (All-night Vigil), For Alto, Tenor & Chorus, Op. 37
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: Complete Operas (Aleko, The Miserly Knight, Francesca di Rimini)

Disc 1
Title: Aleko, Opera, TN Ii/70
Disc 2
Title: The Miserly Knight, Opera, Op. 24
Disc 3
Title: Francesca Da Rimini, Opera, Op. 25
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: Complete Piano Concertos / Rhapsody

Disc 1
Title: Piano Concerto No. 1 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 1
Title: Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor, Op. 18
Disc 2
Title: Piano Concerto No. 3 In D Minor, Op. 30
Title: Piano Concerto No. 4 In G Minor, Op. 40
Disc 3
Title: Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini (Introduction And 24 Variations), In A Minor For Piano & Orchestra, Op. 43
Title: Variations On A Theme Of Corelli, For Piano, Op. 42
Title: Piano Sonata No. 2 In B Flat Minor, Op.36
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: Music For 2 Pianos

Disc 1
Title: Suite No. 1 ("Fantaisie-tableaux") For 2 Pianos In G Minor, Op. 5
Title: Suite No. 2 For 2 Pianos In C Major, Op. 17
Title: Etudes-tableaux, For Piano, Op. 33
Disc 2
Title: Symphonic Dances, For Orchestra (Or 2 Pianos), Op. 45
Title: Russian Rhapsody, For 2 Pianos In E Minor, TN Ii/23
Title: Variations On A Theme Of Corelli, For Piano, Op. 42
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: Opera Highlights

Title: Aleko, Opera, TN Ii/70
Title: The Miserly Knight, Opera, Op. 24
Title: Francesca Da Rimini, Opera, Op. 25
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: Paganini Rhapsody, 6 Preludes, Etc

Title: Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini (Introduction And 24 Variations), In A Minor For Piano & Orchestra, Op. 43
Title: Variations On A Theme Of Corelli, For Piano, Op. 42
Title: Morceaux De Fantaisie (5), For Piano, Op. 3
Title: Preludes (10) For Piano, Op. 23
Title: Preludes (13) For Piano, Op. 32
Title: Preludes (10) For Piano, Op. 23
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2

Title: Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini (Introduction And 24 Variations), In A Minor For Piano & Orchestra, Op. 43
Title: Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor, Op. 18
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 & Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini

Title: Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini (Introduction And 24 Variations), For Piano & Orchestra In A Minor, Op. 43
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2; Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini

Title: Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor, Op. 18
Title: Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini (Introduction And 24 Variations), In A Minor For Piano & Orchestra, Op. 43
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: The Symphonies

Disc 1
Title: Symphony No. 1 In D Minor, Op. 13 (Lost; Reconstructed From Piano Duets And Orch. Fragments)
Title: Symphonic Dances, For Orchestra (Or 2 Pianos), Op. 45
Disc 2
Title: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27
Title: The Isle Of The Dead, Symphonic Poem, Op. 29
Disc 3
Title: Symphony No. 3 In A Minor, Op. 44
Title: The Bells, choral symphony for soprano, tenor, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 35
x

Track List: Rachmaninov: Vespers (All-Night Vigil)

Comments

nortonwayne7
along with the Paganini variation clearly the two most beautiful compositions in all of classical music literature. J.Wayne
Yep, Eric Carmen borrowed much of this song for All By Myself. Shameless!
And.... We do need to know who's the pianist on this piece!!! My guess....Ka. . . . n a . . . Z ! ! !
The absolute best!!! My wife plays his music for me as a trade off for dinner!! I think I have a better deal!!! Go to juliecheek.c o m and check her out
rowlandsandr a v
The most wonderful pianist ,I love his music!!!
Who are the performers?? ? ? ? ? ?
I thank Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead " for introducing, Serget Rachmaninoff , to my attentive listening of classical music.
lkgrebnel
would like to know something of Ms Wang. nice lite touch, clean and dz well w/the heavy stuff.
lisadps34
My mom played this for us as children. I took it for granted then....what a blessing.... H e is pure genius.
Play only Rachmaninoff ' s music
kaydogssss1
He is the best
Rachmaninov 2nd Piano Concerto. Could any 20th century composer write more beautiful melodies then him ? I don't think so.I just love the 2nd movement of the concerto. Gorgeous.
crsundstrom
I understand the greatness of many composers though I am only 11. Rachmaninov is my favourite.
Eric Carmen may have convinced a lot of people that he wrote All By Myself all by himself, but I noticed that Rachmaninoff - and his Piano Concerto #2 - were born first.
So beautiful so amazing. One of my all time favorite piano concertos.
rdueck357
Horowitz admired him for his greatness in Composition, Conducting, and Performance- - s o rare to find true greatness in all of these.
Now I know where Eric Carmen got his inspiration for "All by myself"
DA, Y'ALL!!! :-~~~~~RACH & ROOOOOOOLL!! ! (let's not hurt ourselves,no w . . . .......t`wou l d be.....unsee m l y . )
Memorable melodies, great piano concertos, superb orchestrator . One of the all time great composers.
oriana.padil l a 0 8 3
Rachmaninov is majestically inspiring to begin the day♥♥♥
Rachmaninov rachs.
Gorgeous! Thanks

One of my
most awesome composers...
jpheiser2
Vladimir Ashkenazy was a friend of Rachmaninoff ' s , so it's only appropriate for him to be playing his music. Great stuff.
Really helps me concentrate when I am studying for a test
Who but Rachmaninov could write some of the most beautiful melodies ever created? His melodies are even well known in todays' culture, in movies and even rock songs, think of All By Myself by Eric Carmen. He was also a brilliant orchestrator and of course a brilliant piano writer and performer.
chainreactio n 9 0 8
georgeous
would also like to hear popular music
Maggie Zhang, no, your hands don't die. Studying Rachmaninoff right now, he's an absolute joy to play!
I believe I will always, always, always prefer Rachmaninov performing his own works. No one has measured up so far.
Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor, Op. 18 always makes me cry. It is such a beautiful piece.
lkgrebnel
Andre Previn! that we could have heard the finale. . . Have you the Willian Kapell ??
Incredible.. . . Just incredible.. . . . . a n d big hands.. ;)
Just makes me float
Wouldn't your hands die?!?
tomearnist
love it love it love it call me a romantic
bbysmael...B e c a u s e of comments like yours, I've started wondering whether or not pandora has become populated with morons.
Beautiful:)
jesse6895
@bbysmael: How can one 'not have a single bit of talent left'? Is talent not something that is consumed, and is meant to be used, of which it can be neglected?
Yes, I think Rachmaninov was left-handed. Years ago I played a couple of his preludes and they were very heavy on the left hand.
Rachmaninoff had to be a lefty
Love, love, love those Russky composers particularly this one.:)
I found this radio because of my piano teacher said it would help
I love Rachmaninov and find myself enjoying the rich chords and powerful feelings of the music for days after listening to this station.
*Born in Semyonovo, Russia, on April 1, 1873* April 1st ya say? I feel like a joke is being played... :P
One of my favorites
This is one of the all-time classics in piano music. I have heard Ms Algerich play some very nice music before, but this she just murdered ! Margaret, dear. This is supposed to be romantic. You seeed like you were angry and in an extreme hurry to get it over with. Shame on you. You can do much better.
I
kellyflwr86
Tonight I get to hear Rachmaninov played by a symphony orchestra. His music is wonderful by any measure, although I'm not a fan of classical composers in particular (I enjoy dissonant soundscapes more). The measured melody, balance, and emotion here is fabulous.

Just a note on an urelated matter: it is not a good idea to post one's email address on a public forum. My opinion, of course.
s.carton
Illustration with sound. This one takes you on a real action adventure from frantic to fabulous and back. Thank you.
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