Author Topic: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)  (Read 65327 times)

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Online North Star

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #400 on: July 22, 2019, 11:25:05 AM »
I recall reading that he wondered about that note, but trusted that Mother Russia had produced men with bass voices capable of reaching it!  $:)
Quoth Wikipedia

Quote
The fifth movement, Nunc dimittis (Nyne otpushchayeshi), has gained notoriety for its ending in which the low basses must negotiate a descending scale that ends with a low B-flat (the third B-flat below middle C). When Rachmaninoff initially played this passage through to Kastalsky and Danilin in preparation for the first performance, Rachmaninoff recalled that:

Danilin shook his head, saying, "Now where on earth are we to find such basses? They are as rare as asparagus at Christmas!" Nevertheless, he did find them. I knew the voices of my countrymen...
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Offline ChopinBroccoli

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #401 on: July 22, 2019, 03:36:34 PM »
Just gave it a listen (I'm not a great consumer of vocal music, even by composers I love) ... my god, that's a low note! And I have a deep voice
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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #402 on: December 05, 2019, 04:16:19 PM »
I've been listening to and really enjoying lately the first three piano concerti of Sergei Rachmaninoff, as well as a few other works (the 2nd piano sonata, some of the Preludes, the Symphonic Dances). I am beginning to really appreciate his music. Definitely one of the few composers to represent the zenith of late Romanticism, alongside Mahler, Scriabin, Strauss, and I'll give the nod to Elgar.

I went from finding his music overly sentimental and kind of cloying to extremely powerful pretty fast. How did this happen, you ask? All it took was hearing the composer's own recordings of the piano concerti, w/ the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy and Leopold Stokowski. The sound is rough here, of course (recordings from the '20s and '30s), but no one makes a better case for this music than Rachmaninoff himself. After hearing his recordings, others' performances have somehow begun to make more sense, too, especially Sviatoslav Richter, who was already a favorite of mine in other repertoire, and although he plays completely differently from Rach himself.

I just ordered this:



... and I'm looking forward to hearing Horowitz's very famous recording of Rachmaninoff PC3. I am also looking at those new Daniil Trifonov CDs on DG and really want to get one. Trifonov is a quite good young pianist, and there may be no better orchestra for Rachmaninoff than the Philadelphia. If I'm not mistaken, the composer professed that the Philadelphians were his favorite orchestra he'd ever played with. He appears to have loved the "velvety Philadelphia sound" and indeed that string sound works great for his music.

Anyone else been listening to Rachmaninoff lately? I don't know why, but his music has just been making sense lately.

PS. A final note on spelling; I've recently began spelling it Rachmaninoff as I read somewhere (here?) that the composer himself spelled it with the F's, but frankly, and for entirely superficial reasons, I prefer the Rachmaninov spelling. (I don't like when people spell Prokofiev like Prokofieff, either. ;D) – how do you spell the composer's name?

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #403 on: December 06, 2019, 03:58:14 AM »
Рахманинов

 ;)

I listened to the 2-piano version of Symphonic Dances the other day, Ashkenazy/Previn - prompted by another thread here - I like the orchestral version and listen to it quite frequently (it's a useful manageable duration, either taken as a whole or the individual movements - to fit into a spare corner of my time).

I didn't like it much.  There's no denying the pianism and very impressive togetherness of the duo, but positioned left-right (I was listening on headphones, probably a mistake) I was conscious of the music ping-ponging and, quite frankly, both pianists sounded a bit under-deployed, a bit like a master and pupil tackling one hand each of a solo piano work.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 04:17:18 AM by aukhawk »

Offline Jo498

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #404 on: December 06, 2019, 06:20:13 AM »
As has probably been mentioned many times before there are several options for rendering names from the kyrillic alphabet. For the last letter of the surname that looks like a B was usually "ff" used in French, "w" in German and  "v" became the international standard later. But in the late 19th century French was the international language and German was very important for Russians because of the geography and many Germans living in certain regions of Russia as well as a lot of Russians going to Berlin after the Revolution (Charlottenburg was called "Charlottengrad" humourously because of the large Russian population), therefore these two options were more common until the early-mid 20th century.
Similarly, the third letter "X" became "ch" or "kh" (the former having a very similar sound in German, the latter better in English).
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #405 on: December 06, 2019, 06:39:15 AM »
Conversation I had at a major concert venue:

Me: "You have heard of the Рахма́нинов-Society?"

She: "Sure. Isn't that the society that gives you money to sprell Рахма́нинов with two "ff"?!"

That's so spot-on, I bust out laughing!  :D

Therefore I will continue to spell it with a "v" in all my writings, until I, too, have been lubed properly to facilitate the switch.


P.S. Use of the Cyrillic is not me being pretentious but avoiding spelling it out as I'm mimicking a verbal conversation.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #406 on: December 06, 2019, 08:17:59 AM »
PS. A final note on spelling; I've recently began spelling it Rachmaninoff as I read somewhere (here?) that the composer himself spelled it with the F's, but frankly, and for entirely superficial reasons, I prefer the Rachmaninov spelling. (I don't like when people spell Prokofiev like Prokofieff, either. ;D) – how do you spell the composer's name?

Rachmaninov is how I spell it and how I’ve seen it spelt for years. Not going change how I spell it either.
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #407 on: December 06, 2019, 09:43:25 AM »
Fortunately search facilities (eg Amazon, or Spotify) seem pretty good at picking up a mix of either.

P.S. Use of the Cyrillic is not me being pretentious but avoiding spelling it out as I'm mimicking a verbal conversation.

Pretentious?  Toi ??   ;D

Offline Florestan

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #408 on: December 06, 2019, 12:54:57 PM »
Fwiw, the  proper Romanian spelling is Rahmaninov.

For comparison, the official Romanian spelling of Tchaikovsky is Ceaikovski --- which is actually incorrect. The proper Romanian spelling would be Ceaicovschi.
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Offline Irons

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #409 on: December 06, 2019, 01:53:34 PM »
Not such a problem for Rach...... as he is so famous, but an internet search for Myaskovsky or Miaskovsky or even Miaskowsky can be and often is on eBay for example.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #410 on: December 06, 2019, 02:07:52 PM »
Not such a problem for Rach...... as he is so famous, but an internet search for Myaskovsky or Miaskovsky or even Miaskowsky can be and often is on eBay for example.

Or, for example, Lyadov and Liadov or Lyatoshinsky and Lyatoshynsky
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Offline Christo

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #411 on: December 06, 2019, 03:40:13 PM »
Fwiw, the  proper Romanian spelling is Rahmaninov.

For comparison, the official Romanian spelling of Tchaikovsky is Ceaikovski --- which is actually incorrect. The proper Romanian spelling would be Ceaicovschi.
In Dutch we spell his name as Tsjaikovsky, traditionally - more derived from both German and French orthographics - Tschaikovsky, but still rather incorrect as it should be Tsjaikovski (and some do).
To easy things, we traditionally spell names like Rachmaninoff oftentimes like Rachmaninow but nowadays Rachmaninov (changing the 'German' w for an Anglo-Sakson v, but not always). Some tend to exaggerate and spell Rakhmaninov (or Rakhmaninoff if they're drunk, confused or word blind). Belgium differs in all these matters of course, as Belgian Dutch orthographic is closer related to French (either echoing it or differen from it, in both cases with other results).

Happily, English spelling is the most inconsistent of them all so why care.  >:D
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #412 on: December 06, 2019, 04:22:48 PM »
how do you spell the composer's name?

The way Rach himself spelled his name when he lived in the West; the way it's spelled on his passport; the way it's spelled on his gravestone: Rachmaninoff.

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Offline Madiel

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #413 on: December 06, 2019, 07:57:53 PM »
The way Rach himself spelled his name when he lived in the West; the way it's spelled on his passport; the way it's spelled on his gravestone: Rachmaninoff.

Sarge

While I appreciate that argument, it does rather assume that he made choices in this area rather than being told by Westerners how he ought to spell his name in an alphabet that he wasn't familiar with.

And a reference to "Westerners" on my part assumes that all of us have the same spelling conventions, which we don't. I assume this most likely means the spelling conventions of the USA circa 1918.

And that timing point is important. Spelling conventions change, not just geographically but across time. For all sorts of reasons. I'm not sure I should be holding to the spelling conventions of a century ago when the fact is this is not how Russian names are rendered into English these days. Any modern transliteration of a modern Russian name doesn't use "ff" to render the Russian "в", it uses "v".

I'm not inclined to go around changing the spelling of people's own names for them, but in reality "Rachmaninoff" was not how he actually spelled his name. It's just the method he adopted for describing it in a foreign alphabet that lacked some of the symbols he used to spell his name, or had radically different meaning for those symbols.

The convention for the capital of China in English changed from "Peking" to "Beijing". This didn't represent a change in the actual name of the city, which apparently is 北京市. It was a change in the way used to convey to an English speaker roughly the correct sounds in the name using English orthography. Which is the same reason why "ff" became replaced with "v" (the letters F and V being very closely related in English anyway, which is you get "leaf" and "leaves" or "dwarf" and "dwarves").

It's also, of course, why French, German, Romanian, Dutch etc etc all arrive at different spellings of a Russian name. All of these languages uses the same basic Latin alphabet as English, but they do not all assign the same sound values to letters and combinations of letters that English does.

If "v" is the current thinking on how best to symbolise a Russian "в" in English, then I am inclined to use "v". Knowing it's a compromise and that in an ideal world I would type in Cyrillic. I haven't installed Cyrillic on my keyboard. Whereas I have installed the switch to get the 3 extra Danish letters and try to remember to talk myself about Nørgård, without getting too worked up about people 'misspelling' his name as Norgard because it's not their fault that English orthography lacks 2 of the letters in his name.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #414 on: December 07, 2019, 01:42:13 AM »
While I appreciate that argument, it does rather assume that he made choices in this area rather than being told by Westerners how he ought to spell his name in an alphabet that he wasn't familiar with.

As a member of the aristocratic class Rachmaninoff most likely spoke French fluently already as a child, so he was familiar with the Latin alphabet long before he left Russia for good.
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  --- Victor Hugo

Offline Jo498

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #415 on: December 07, 2019, 01:59:40 AM »
I don't think Rachmaninoff was "being told by westeners"; all Russians of his time and class were certainly familiar with the Latin alphabet and usually spoke French (and most also spoke German and English, if they could afford it, Russian upper class families employed in turn native speaking governesses for these languages, a generation or two before Rachmaninoff many upper class Russians probably spoke French better than Russian) and as soon as they were travelling they had to deal with these issues. It was not some exotic but a very common "problem". It's still plausible that Rachmaninoff at some stage made a choice to use the French spelling (as well as the frenchified "Serge") although very likely it simply was the most common way for international travel, unless one already knew one wanted to settle or become naturalized in a German or English-speaking country (where it still would not be a problem because "-off" was also understood there and not pronounced much differently).
It should be a non-problem for someone of average intelligence to deal with alternative spellings of names in different languages and different alphabets. I have to do it all the time because of a tiny umlaut in my surname.

And for place names there is now in some cases a convention taking over that they should be rendered more closely to the local/native way. But this is not so for most "non-exotic" names that are already established. It would usually appear mannered and pretentious for an English speaker to say München instead of Munich or Mus-kvá instead of Moscow etc. unless travelling in the area and wanting to be better understood by natives.
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The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #416 on: December 07, 2019, 02:21:19 AM »
And for place names there is now in some cases a convention taking over that they should be rendered more closely to the local/native way. But this is not so for most "non-exotic" names that are already established. It would usually appear mannered and pretentious for an English speaker to say München instead of Munich or Mus-kvá instead of Moscow etc. unless travelling in the area and wanting to be better understood by natives.

I find it fascinating how it's only larger places that get translated into other languages. It's a sign of which places are important enough to have registered on the consciousness of other nations.

As far as I can tell, the only Danish locality that gets an English name is Copenhagen (and after learning Danish I do sometimes have to consciously tell myself to go with Copenhagen and not København because no-one is going to know what I'm talking about, unless I'm talking to a Dane).

Everything smaller just gets its own name, although I'm sure that in some cases the pronunciation will be wildly different (I didn't pronounce Odense remotely correctly).

A few German cities get translated, but in some cases this doesn't happen because English speakers are perfectly comfortable with the German spelling and sounds anyway. Off the top of my head it seems that umlauts are a trigger (Munich, Cologne).
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #417 on: December 07, 2019, 03:11:28 AM »
I think it depends on the relevance, often geographic closeness and some other factors. Of course sometimes it is only a slight assimilation or simply non-native pronunciation. I am still puzzled by Aix-la-Chapelle and have to remind myself that this is actually a German city...
The key here seems to be somewhat flexible and relaxed, I think. We can't be all like the Swiss but the total dominance of only one language for international issues in the last decades has not made us more flexible. Heck, only 150 years ago or so one had one's own name in a Latin version on a prep school or university diploma in many countries.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
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The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #418 on: December 07, 2019, 04:04:01 AM »
Lots of native English speakers live on islands, or a very long way away from areas where another language dominates, which doesn't help when it comes to becoming used to dealing with other languages.

My first visit to the more central parts of Europe was quite fascinating, and on subsequent visits to the continent it's continued to be interesting to see the level of language-switching many people are capable of, especially in the smaller countries. I think my record is hearing a cafe owner speak 4 different languages during my lunch...
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Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
« Reply #419 on: April 01, 2020, 12:23:17 PM »
Happy birthday to the great Sergei Rachmaninov.



Anyone listening to his music today? I must confess that I started the Symphony No.2 (I have the Zinman/Baltimore recording) but turned it off after the first movement—I just couldn't get in the mood—and put on some Shostakovich instead. But now, I am listening to (& very much enjoying...) the third piano concerto, with Ashkenazy on the keys. I may or may not also put on the Michelangeli recording of the 4th concerto, which I've not heard, but have heard incessant praise bestowed upon it, plus I have it in the EMI Michelangeli "Icon" box.