GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Chaszz on December 10, 2009, 05:35:52 PM

Title: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Chaszz on December 10, 2009, 05:35:52 PM
Excuse me, but this composer seems to have a total of two or three self-pitying ideas which he recycles relentlessly and endlessly. Why is this papmeister played on classical music stations regularly, even respectable ones? Am I missing something?
Shall I armour myself against flames here?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Chaszz on December 10, 2009, 05:42:06 PM
Excuse me, but this composer seems to have a total of two or three self-pitying ideas which he recycles relentlessly and endlessly. Why is this papmeister played on classical music stations regularly, even respectable ones? Am I missing something?
Shall I armour myself against flames here?

P.S. And recently I read a self-pitying quote from his older years in which he confessed he (tragically) couldn't compose anymore. Well, duh....
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Brian on December 10, 2009, 06:46:52 PM
If what you're hearing over and over is the Piano Concerto No 2 and Prelude in C sharp minor, then no wonder you've got that opinion. But the truth is that Rachmaninov was a talented composer of a quite varied body of musical output. A lot of folks find death as a common thread in his music - and it certainly is there, in the Paganini Rhapsody, in the Isle of the Dead, maybe in a couple preludes. A lot of folks find needless virtuosity in his music - well, he earned his pay as a virtuoso concert pianist and, in the grand old tradition of Chopin and Liszt (whose concertos have far less substance, in my opinion), he wrote music to play in concert.

That said, I think there is a general tendency to fixate on Rachmaninov's very obvious emotionality and the sorrows of his personal life and use them to create a narrative that's dismissive of him as a serious, intelligent composer. You don't have to buy that narrative. I don't. I think his 24 preludes for solo piano are varied and interesting, an intelligent cycle of piano works that stubbornly refuses to indulge in what you call self-pity. Branch out beyond the famous stuff - or even look at the famous stuff from a new perspective, like the stark minimalist intensity of the Isle of the Dead or contrapuntal talents on display in the Symphony No 2.

Rachmaninov is not necessarily one of my very favorite composers (those are Beethoven, Dvorak, Shostakovich, maybe Chopin) but he is one I admire and greatly enjoy. He is unafraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, and that heart happened to be a big one. But I can't say I detect "two or three self-pitying ideas" wending their ways through his work as a common thread or a recyclement. Maybe the only common thread I see is that a lot of his finales (Piano Concertos 2 and 3, Symphony 2) tend to end with the subsidiary theme sweeping through the string section in slow-motion, followed by one last cascade of quick little notes.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Chaszz on December 10, 2009, 06:51:04 PM
If what you're hearing over and over is the Piano Concerto No 2 and Prelude in C sharp minor, then no wonder you've got that opinion. But the truth is that Rachmaninov was a talented composer of a quite varied body of musical output. A lot of folks find death as a common thread in his music - and it certainly is there, in the Paganini Rhapsody, in the Isle of the Dead, maybe in a couple preludes. A lot of folks find needless virtuosity in his music - well, he earned his pay as a virtuoso concert pianist and, in the grand old tradition of Chopin and Liszt (whose concertos have far less substance, in my opinion), he wrote music to play in concert.

That said, I think there is a general tendency to fixate on Rachmaninov's very obvious emotionality and the sorrows of his personal life and use them to create a narrative that's dismissive of him as a serious, intelligent composer. You don't have to buy that narrative. I don't. I think his 24 preludes for solo piano are as varied and as interesting a cycle of piano works as any composed since the time Chopin. Branch out beyond the famous stuff - or even look at the famous stuff from a new perspective, like the stark minimalist intensity of the Isle of the Dead or contrapuntal talents on display in the Symphony No 2.

Rachmaninov is not necessarily one of my very favorite composers (those are Beethoven, Dvorak, Shostakovich, maybe Chopin) but he is one I admire and greatly enjoy. He is unafraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, and that heart happened to be a big one. But I can't say I detect "two or three self-pitying ideas" wending their ways through his work as a common thread or a recyclement. Maybe the only common thread I see is that a lot of his finales (Piano Concertos 2 and 3, Symphony 2) tend to end with the subsidiary theme sweeping through the string section in slow-motion, followed by one last cascade of quick little notes.

I'm sorry, but every work I've heard by him, including some you mention, seem to me to recycle the same limited batch of a few melodic and harmonic ideas.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Novi on December 10, 2009, 07:01:22 PM
Try his All-Night Vigil, Chaszz.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: jochanaan on December 10, 2009, 07:04:47 PM
I'm sorry, but every work I've heard by him, including some you mention, seem to me to recycle the same limited batch of a few melodic and harmonic ideas.
Well, if you can say that about The Isle of the Dead, then I have nothing to say to you about this subject, except that I disagree strongly. :-X
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: schweitzeralan on December 14, 2009, 05:33:34 AM
Try his All-Night Vigil, Chaszz.

If I'm not mistraken Racmaninof did not compose all that much after he left revolutionary Russia in 1917.  He did compose a few works here in the US, but I think he survived financially by virtue of his many wonderful performances.  I believe he even may have conducted. 
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Herman on December 14, 2009, 05:53:54 AM
Excuse me, but this composer seems to have a total of two or three self-pitying ideas which he recycles relentlessly and endlessly. Why is this papmeister played on classical music stations regularly, even respectable ones? Am I missing something?
Shall I armour myself against flames here?

Yeah, that's Rachmoninoff.

You should, however, try and listen to Rachmaninoff.

That's an entirely different matter.

PS it's a little odd to specially create a thread to dismiss a major composer.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 14, 2009, 06:37:29 AM
I'm sorry, but every work I've heard by him, including some you mention, seem to me to recycle the same limited batch of a few melodic and harmonic ideas.

Like all the great composers he has an instantly recognizable style and language. That's not to say, though, that he repeats the same few melodic and harmonic ideas.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Carolus on December 14, 2009, 07:23:05 AM
His second piano trio and the cello sonata are IMO two of the most beautiful romantic works of the 20th.century :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on December 14, 2009, 08:11:41 AM
Rakhmaninov is brilliant. Period.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: jochanaan on December 14, 2009, 08:25:59 AM
If I'm not mistraken Racmaninof did not compose all that much after he left revolutionary Russia in 1917.  He did compose a few works here in the US, but I think he survived financially by virtue of his many wonderful performances.  I believe he even may have conducted.
It's true that his output declined in quantity; however, the works he did compose during that time are major: the 4th piano concerto, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the Third Symphony, and the Symphonic Dances. 8)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: schweitzeralan on December 14, 2009, 09:18:32 AM
It's true that his output declined in quantity; however, the works he did compose during that time are major: the 4th piano concerto, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the Third Symphony, and the Symphonic Dances. 8)

All significant works.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Carolus on December 14, 2009, 09:31:45 AM
And what about his early two short string quartets from the time he was a student on the Conservatory? Only 2 movements each, but very well done.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: offbeat on December 14, 2009, 03:58:27 PM
I love Rachmaninov because of the sense of nostalgia in nearly every work - in particular his late works when in America shows regret in the music which is heart rending - works like the third symphony and Symphonic Dances have real feeling imo - the tone poem Isle of the Dead is very romantic but probably my favourite is his early Vespers - great music to meditate to,,,,
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: DavidRoss on December 15, 2009, 04:08:56 PM
Just listened to the Rach 2 for the first time in a couple of months, at least.  Grimaud/Abbado/Lucerne Festival Orchestra.  The zenith of late Romanticism, for this listener.  Of course, if I heard it every day I would quickly tire of it.  The same principle applies to crème brûlée, does it not?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Benji on December 15, 2009, 05:11:32 PM
I'm glad to see so much support in favour of the composer. I was thinking the other day that I hadn't seen anyone post that they were listening to Rach in as long as I could remember.

I enjoy most of what i've heard, and love a great deal of it. I couldn't do without The Bells inparticular; it just stirs something up inside me and the feeling is wonderful. But then i'm emotional and, at times, morbid, and perhaps that's why his music resonates with me.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Scarpia on December 15, 2009, 07:22:06 PM
To dissipate the stereotype that Rachmaninoff is always gloomy, listen to the Symphonic Dances (Janson's has a wonderful recording with a proper Russian orchestra).  Really vibrant, inventive music.

And, of course, the idea that the originator of this thread knows anything about Rachmaninoff is belied by the fact that he or she can't even spell Rach's name!   ::)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Valentino on December 16, 2009, 12:04:02 AM
Rakhmaninov is brilliant. Period.

My sentiments exactly.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: zamyrabyrd on December 16, 2009, 12:51:13 AM
Translated musically, maybe you think he had a fixation on the (gloomy) descending minor 2nd, (that does change to a major 2nd in the finale of the 2nd concerto A to G, or the ascending, triumphant E to F# in the finale of the 3rd PC). Or the ta ta-ta ta tattoo at the end of some of his music.

OK, Beethoven liked triads, so what? Other composers had other distinguishing marks of style (just like anyone who writes prose (I have a habit of parentheses)).

But there is such a variety in his music, and may I mention (although I know them far from well) his beautiful song writing?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSsuuVvhaHI

Guryakova/Orbelian recording of "Floods of Spring" or "Spring Waters" captures the whoosh and sparkle of the melting ice that I didn't find in about 20 or so youtube clips I just now checked. But that in itself is a fantastic work, one of about 100 other songs by Rachmaninoff.

And incidentally, Rachmaninoff's piano recording of the Schumann "Carnaval" is a feat in technique and expression.

ZB
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: alkan on December 16, 2009, 02:41:54 AM
I don't know why, but one of the few works by Rachmaninov that I really like is ....... er ...... gulp ...... his First Symphony  (especially the version by Ormandy).         I realize that it is a structural disaster, but I find many original, bizzare and beautiful passages that really appeal to me.       The fanfare at the start of the 4th movement, the dramatic and awe-inspiring collapse at the end, the fleeting scherzo, the atmospheric slow movement, the unusual harmonies ....... wonderful stuff ....
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on December 16, 2009, 07:29:49 AM
Maybe it's just me, but how can someone not like such staggeringly original works like the Symphonic Dances and the 4th Piano Concerto?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Spotswood on December 16, 2009, 09:47:45 AM
I'm with Chaszz on this one. I can't stand most of Rach, though I think the Symphonic Dances are OK. As I've said elsewhere, he's the one composer who is unrepresented in my record and collection. I don't own a single work---not a prelude, not a concerto, nothing. But I undertand the appeal: hummable tunes, overt sentimentality, a nice, fat orchestral sound and a lot of over-the-top action. It's a heady mixture. I wouldn't begrudge anyone their enjoyment.

As Harold Schoenberg said, for all the criticism it has encountered, his music will not go away. Then again, the same could be said of stomach cancer.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Benji on December 16, 2009, 09:48:18 AM
Maybe it's just me, but how can someone not like such staggeringly original works like the Symphonic Dances and the 4th Piano Concerto?

Probably as they are empty husks of a former-person?

I jest. Somewhat.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on December 16, 2009, 09:57:00 AM
Ben! To your room, this instant!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on December 16, 2009, 09:58:20 AM
. . . But I undertand the appeal: hummable tunes, overt sentimentality, a nice, fat orchestral sound and a lot of over-the-top action. It's a heady mixture.

Cor, you make him sound like Beethoven.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: MN Dave on December 16, 2009, 10:02:09 AM
Do you enjoy Turnyerhedencoff?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Spotswood on December 16, 2009, 11:17:02 AM
Cor, you make him sound like Beethoven.

He could never sound like Beethoven.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on December 16, 2009, 12:30:13 PM
Thank heavens.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on December 16, 2009, 01:16:01 PM
I don't know why, but one of the few works by Rachmaninov that I really like is ....... er ...... gulp ...... his First Symphony  (especially the version by Ormandy).         I realize that it is a structural disaster, but I find many original, bizzare and beautiful passages that really appeal to me.       The fanfare at the start of the 4th movement, the dramatic and awe-inspiring collapse at the end, the fleeting scherzo, the atmospheric slow movement, the unusual harmonies ....... wonderful stuff ....

Amen!  0:)   Except for the comment about "structural disaster!"
I find the interweaving quite structurally sound: it might break some of the rules in the textbooks, but as Bruckner warned his students: after they graduate, they should NOT be following the rules in the textbooks.

On the topic: its founder needs to hear with different ears, and listen - yes! - to Spring or The Miserly Knight or the two Piano Sonatas.

As I recall, The Rach was fairly well financially ruined by the Communist takeover of Russia, and needed to concertize for his daily bread.  Concertizing meant practicing and traveling, which meant not much time to compose new works. 

There is also the aspect of mental depression from having to lead such a life: possibly that drained him of the energy needed to create new works.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Spotswood on December 16, 2009, 02:24:20 PM
Thank heavens.

Perhaps more to the point, he could never be like Beethoven.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on December 16, 2009, 02:35:58 PM
It is enough that Beethoven be Beethoven.  I am equally content that Rakhmaninov be none but himself.  I shouldn't fault Carter for not being Beethoven, either.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Marc on December 16, 2009, 03:22:25 PM
Excuse me, but this composer seems to have a total of two or three self-pitying ideas which he recycles relentlessly and endlessly. Why is this papmeister played on classical music stations regularly, even respectable ones?
Oh! Thanks a bundle for this thread! :-*

I like to listen to the 2nd symphony and the Paganini Rhapsody.
 
But I'm totally in 0:) when I listen to the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Vespers. Especially the Vespers, with songs and hymns of eternal beauty like Ныне отпущаеши (Nunc dimittis) and Благословен еси Господи (Blessed art Thou, O Lord).
I immediately ran to my collection and to listen to the latter, track no. 9 of the Eurodisc/Melodyia recording with the USSR Russian Academic Chorus, conducted by Alexandr Sveshnikov.
Hush hush, it's starting just now ....
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Marc on December 16, 2009, 03:32:34 PM
The Magnificat of this piece is a heavenly miracle, too!

In my younger years, I used to play this music when I was lovesick.

(Fantasy in between the ears: watching a woman like Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi what's-her-name disappear out of my life for ever, and then go home and listen to the Vespers. It's burning .... like heaven on earth!)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Herman on December 16, 2009, 11:50:36 PM

As I recall, The Rach was fairly well financially ruined by the Communist takeover of Russia, and needed to concertize for his daily bread.  Concertizing meant practicing and traveling, which meant not much time to compose new works. 


You mean. like pretty much any composer before the current era?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on December 17, 2009, 06:54:04 AM
You mean. like pretty much any composer before the current era?

Are you referring to The Rach's situation before or after the revolution?

Wagner for example had his aristocratic patronage as well as his own earnings, and did not need to conduct for a living (he played nothing well enough to earn his bread as a performer).

Rather than aristocratic patronage, we now have either governments or foundations occasionally subsidizing composers of "art music."

Or universities, which I find deadly, but does not always have to be.   0:)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: jochanaan on December 17, 2009, 08:16:45 AM
As I recall, The Rach was fairly well financially ruined by the Communist takeover of Russia, and needed to concertize for his daily bread.  Concertizing meant practicing and traveling, which meant not much time to compose new works.
You mean. like pretty much any composer before the current era?
Are you referring to The Rach's situation before or after the revolution?
Rachmaninoff's family belonged to the old nobility, so all his property in Russia was seized.  As I recall, he sensed what was in the air, and under the guise of a concert tour, got out of the country and simply didn't return after his tour visa (or whatever was equivalent in 1917) expired.  If he hadn't, we might have been deprived of another quarter-century of great music-making, compositions, concerts and recordings. :o
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on December 17, 2009, 09:35:45 AM
Rachmaninoff's family belonged to the old nobility, so all his property in Russia was seized.  As I recall, he sensed what was in the air, and under the guise of a concert tour, got out of the country and simply didn't return after his tour visa (or whatever was equivalent in 1917) expired.  If he hadn't, we might have been deprived of another quarter-century of great music-making, compositions, concerts and recordings. :o

One can only imagine what the music of a Soviet Rachmaninoff would have sounded like!   :o
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Spotswood on December 17, 2009, 12:15:59 PM
Wagner for example had his aristocratic patronage as well as his own earnings, and did not need to conduct for a living (he played nothing well enough to earn his bread as a performer).

He was constantly in debt and running from creditors. And the whole Bayreuth project didn't come cheap. Even with patroanage, it didn't break even in the composer's lifetime.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on December 17, 2009, 12:35:45 PM
One can only imagine what the music of a Soviet Rachmaninoff would have sounded like!   :o

He would have been pushed towards happiness with an iron hand.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Chaszz on December 17, 2009, 09:57:55 PM
Are you referring to The Rach's situation before or after the revolution?

Wagner for example had his aristocratic patronage as well as his own earnings, and did not need to conduct for a living (he played nothing well enough to earn his bread as a performer)...



Wagner conducted many performances of "bleeding chunks" (orchestral passages from his operas) both before and after Ludwig II began patronising him. He put on a long and exhausting tour to finish raising money for the original opening of Bayreuth.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lethevich on December 21, 2009, 05:07:20 PM
Hehe. I've been listening to his songs after they were mentioned in this thread, and the titles are really cruely in-line with the original poster's accusations of pap and self-pity:

http://www.theclassicalshop.net/details06mp3.asp?CNumber=CHAN%209477W
http://www.theclassicalshop.net/details06mp3.asp?CNumber=CHAN%209451W
http://www.theclassicalshop.net/details06mp3.asp?CNumber=CHAN%209405W

Despite some nice songwriting, I'm having difficulty taking them seriously :-\
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: schweitzeralan on December 21, 2009, 06:57:31 PM
I don't know why, but one of the few works by Rachmaninov that I really like is ....... er ...... gulp ...... his First Symphony  (especially the version by Ormandy).         I realize that it is a structural disaster, but I find many original, bizzare and beautiful passages that really appeal to me.       The fanfare at the start of the 4th movement, the dramatic and awe-inspiring collapse at the end, the fleeting scherzo, the atmospheric slow movement, the unusual harmonies ....... wonderful stuff ....

I've been listening to Rach's orchestral and pianistic works for many years, and I think his works are wonderfly complex, harmonically rich in  subtlety and color, not to men mention  his sense of feeling and dramatic fervor.  I've been dabbling (certainly not playing) his inordinately difficult and involved 1st Sonata.  There may be by now several recordings; I have an old Ruth Laredo performance. This work is tremendous, inordinately difficult but beautifully conceived work.  The 2nd movement is brilliantly developed.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Superhorn on December 24, 2009, 03:00:43 PM
  Actually, there's no one commonly agrred on correct way to spell this composer's name, simply because there's no commonly agreed on way to transliterate Russian names from the Cyrillic alphabet to English.
  This is true of of other famous Russian composers.
 I've studied Russian, am pretty familiar with the language even if I don't speak ir fluently , and can read Cyrillic.
  Sometimes it's spelled Rachmaninoff and  sometimes Rachmaninov,
and the ch , which represent the same sound asin Chutzpah is sometimes written as kh , and this spelling is sometimes used.
 Mussorgsky should actually be spelled with only one s , and Prokofiev is sometimes spelled Prokofieff . 
Tchaikovsky is sometimes written as Chaykovsky .
Very confusing .


Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: drogulus on December 24, 2009, 03:33:28 PM
Rakhmaninov is brilliant. Period.


      I think so, too.

Perhaps more to the point, he could never be like Beethoven.

      We don't need more Beethovens, we need composers of all and various inclinations, and you can contest their greatness on how they differ from an ideal, but I think music would be less interesting if models had to be followed like that. A little less greatness is a good tradeoff for the variety. Besides, I have trouble imagining what a world of many Beethovens would be like. The presence of the first one would makes the need and the desire to veer away from that ideal necessary for both composers and listeners. Finally I can't see any reason to disparage any composer for not being like another composer.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: piano222 on December 27, 2009, 05:43:15 AM
I die for his etudes...In particular: Op. 33 No 3 Cminor and No 4 Dminor (published posthumously because withdrawn by composer from op.33). Also Op 33 No 7 Gminor-- wow. Op 39 No2 Aminor is unbelievable! Op 39 No 8 Dminor, yes! yes! yes! Also, Op 21 no 5--Lilacs very nice transcribed for piano by composer- Listen to Rachmaninov play it here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72xh91KTOOA 
I also enjoy Oriental Sketch written late in his life (name given by publisher).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: jochanaan on December 27, 2009, 09:16:03 AM
You mean the Études tableaux?  I agree: stellar!  I'm not familiar with the Opus 33 set, but the Opus 39 set is really wonderful; my personal favorites from it are #5 in Eb minor, #6 in A minor and #7 in C minor.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Dax on December 27, 2009, 11:43:08 AM
His second piano trio and the cello sonata are IMO two of the most beautiful romantic works of the 20th.century :)

I'm glad someone has mentioned the D minor trio (er - 1893!) - there is a blindingly good performance by Kogan, Luzanov and Svetlanov on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcSLHyR7zBk

et seq
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Carolus on December 27, 2009, 12:17:06 PM
Yes, I've that version on CD. Also by the Moscow Trio,
by Roisman, Schneider and Balsam, and by the Oistrakh Trio.But Kogan's is better. ;)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: piano222 on December 27, 2009, 06:53:07 PM
You mean the Études tableaux?  I agree: stellar!  I'm not familiar with the Opus 33 set, but the Opus 39 set is really wonderful; my personal favorites from it are #5 in Eb minor, #6 in A minor and #7 in C minor.

Yes that's exactly what I mean. I just call the "study pictures" or etudes-tableaux, etudes for short. The two sets are just that anyways, etudes. I appreciate the ones you mention also. I don't hear the C minor that often played live, but I don't know why... it is great! The Eb minor is way overplayed IMO and by that I guess I mean poorly, but still a great work and though it's not one of my favorites I appreciate the A minor you mention for it's aggressiveness and all that it represents being one of the last works that he worked on (or rather revised since it was originally supposed to be in op. 33) before the Bolshevik revolution and he left Russia. I hope you do familiarize yourself with op. 33 too and let me know how you like the set. In opus 39 you can hear a change in harmonies a bit more experimental or Scriabin-esque perhaps. I think he was listening to his fellow Russian composers (Scriabin, Prokofiev) a lot before he left in fact.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: jochanaan on December 28, 2009, 03:18:36 PM
...The Eb minor is way overplayed IMO and by that I guess I mean poorly...
I know what you mean.  I can only stand hearing a certain number of poor student performances before my appreciation takes a nosedive. ::) But I can hardly get too much of good recordings such as the Ruth Laredo LPs I have. :D
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Guido on December 29, 2009, 04:35:36 PM
I also think the first symphony is actually rather good. I listen to the second more, but there's an honesty and beauty to the first, despite it's derivitiveness, that I think is fantastic.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on December 29, 2009, 04:52:25 PM
I like the First very well, indeed.  So far, I have only heard the one recording of it (Noseda, BBC Phil).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: offbeat on December 30, 2009, 03:52:30 AM
I also think the first symphony is actually rather good. I listen to the second more, but there's an honesty and beauty to the first, despite it's derivitiveness, that I think is fantastic.
i used to think the 2nd symphony was the great romantic symphony above everything else but over time ive warmed to the 3rd symphony - full of nostalgia and regret - maybe it reflects my own mind set rather than sergei's  ;D
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Carolus on December 30, 2009, 07:54:23 AM
I like the First very well, indeed.  So far, I have only heard the one recording of it (Noseda, BBC Phil).

I've a very fine recording by Sanderling and Leningrad Ph.O.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on December 30, 2009, 08:16:06 AM
I've a very fine recording by Sanderling and Leningrad Ph.O.

That one must be uncut, too, I am guessing, Carlos?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Maciek on December 30, 2009, 08:53:52 AM
Dave, that trio is fantastic! Thanks! :D
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Carolus on December 30, 2009, 11:47:23 AM
That one must be uncut, too, I am guessing, Carlos?
I don't think so. The version takes 43'.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: jurajjak on December 30, 2009, 12:05:42 PM
hi,

There are few composers about whom I have more mixed feelings than Rachmaninoff--I love the Paganini Rhapsody, but can live without the 2nd and 3rd concerti. His best work might be The Bells--the third movement alone reveals an energy and tempetuousness totally opposite to the admitted 'self-pitying' moments. And I've always found the central melody to the first of the Symphonic Dances to be astonishing.

I've been enjoying the 3 CD Vox Box of complete orchestral works (minus the symphonies and concerti) conducted by Slatkin, which contains several rarities. The 3 Russian Songs for Chorus and Orchestra, op. 41 is a solid opus despite its brief (13-mintue) length; the Spring Cantata is also worthwhile, and represents SR in a more straightforward, less sentimental style.


Andrew
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Dax on December 31, 2009, 06:35:46 AM
Dave, that trio is fantastic! Thanks! :D

Glad that it's a hit! It certainly deserves to be.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Drasko on December 31, 2009, 07:01:10 AM
I'm glad someone has mentioned the D minor trio (er - 1893!) - there is a blindingly good performance by Kogan, Luzanov and Svetlanov on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcSLHyR7zBk

et seq

Dave, that trio is fantastic! Thanks! :D

If anyone is interested here are links for vbr mp3s (around 256) of that performance, Russian Disc CD is long out of print.

Code: [Select]
http://dl2.tempfile.ru/download/a4b78b914e895eb7ad89f36f1203f0d8
http://dl2.tempfile.ru/download/fa25d1fcc0713ea88b4b3e1087cf972a
http://dl3.tempfile.ru/download/78320f5fac6e91c10d141cb40368dff1
these are direct links to files (one per movement), should be valid till twenty-something January
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on December 31, 2009, 07:02:55 AM
Not through any fault of the composer's, that trio remains on my to-listen-to pile . . . .
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Carolus on December 31, 2009, 09:02:25 AM
IMO you should investigate also his first piano trio. Not in the
same class that the second, but very good.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Maciek on December 31, 2009, 02:12:06 PM
If anyone is interested here are links for vbr mp3s (around 256) of that performance

Ha! I had actually already extracted the sound from the flvs, but this is much better! Thank you! 8)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 01, 2010, 06:41:27 AM
Word. He was a great pianist too.

To say the least.  He must have been a legendary performer.  All his piano works are complex and demanding in terms of performing.  Much, I'm sure, has been exhaustingly researched and acknowledged throughout the decades. Actually, I am a dabbler myself, and I brazenly enter the pianistic world of his amazing 1st Sonata. I'm aware of the complexities and nuances of his piano concertos, no need to  dwell on that here. I simply wanted to post my enthusiasm and profound appreciation  of the Sonata.   I think  it is a masterpiece.  The intense emotion, the rich harmonies, the romantic angst, the sensuous chromatic longings that pervade the work, all make for compelling listening,  at least on my part. I have one recording, namely the old LP Laredo performance, along with the Rach 2nd Sonata.
I acquired the CD some ten years ago, and there were not many recordings of the Sonatas.  I'm sure there must be several recently recordings of the Sonata.  Highly recommended.

rk
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 01, 2010, 12:34:55 PM
Have you heard his own performance of the 3rd? Whoa...damn...that's sick.

My parents had a 78 album which contained the Rach performance of the 3rd.  It was a long time ago; unfortunately I don't recall details.  What I vaguely remember is that many sections of recent performances were then omitted, probably because of space. I'm sure Sergei was wonderful in performances of his works.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Carolus on January 01, 2010, 12:57:42 PM
On the preludes, my favorite is Richter, but he recorded only a few. For a complete version, I choose Alexis Weisenberg's. Big technique and plenty stamina. He only need a little more poetic flavour.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 01, 2010, 07:19:03 PM
He and Sviatoslav Richter (check out the disc I linked above) are the best in this music.

Richter is a wonderful performer.  The Russian culture excelled in  its music.  Not only for the well kn own; namely, Schostrakovich, Prokofiev, Rimsky, Scriabin, and the list goes on.  There were also fine composers during the first half of the 20th century who were then  primarily acknowledged as performing pianists.  I now own several works by them: Alexandrov, Feinbereg, Roslavets, Lourie, Krein, Protopopov, Stanchinsky. Gliere's 3rd is also a spectacular work, along with the tone poem, 'Sirens," a work I came to know thanks to this forum.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: jochanaan on January 06, 2010, 12:03:20 PM
My parents had a 78 album which contained the Rach performance of the 3rd.  It was a long time ago; unfortunately I don't recall details.  What I vaguely remember is that many sections of recent performances were then omitted, probably because of space. I'm sure Sergei was wonderful in performances of his works.
He was.  I've got a pair of CDs with SR playing the four concertos and Paganini Rhapsody.  Not only technically flawless but deeply musical and with superb tone even in the primitive recordings. :D
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: abidoful on March 23, 2010, 12:32:41 AM
Excuse me, but this composer seems to have a total of two or three self-pitying ideas which he recycles relentlessly and endlessly.
That could be considered also a good thing; he had some basic themes he worked and was interested.
I'm not sure what you mean by "ideas"? He's works are varied, it is not that he composed the same piece over and over again! He's major works are different from each other, he's structures, the forms and  the melodies.

I think you could divide he's output in to three stages;
- works composed before 1900 and before the mental problems (Aleko,concerto1, symphony 1, Trio op 9)
-works composed before the revolution (The Bells, operas "Francesca da Rimini" "The Miserly Knight", symphony 2, concertos 2&3, cello sonata, piano sonatas 1&2, Chopin-variations, piano preludes and etudes, songs)
-works composed after the revolution (concerto 4, symphony 3, Paganini Rhapsody, Corelli-variations)

So you can see that he was quite prolific before the revolution, but after- he composed only few works. And can you blame him since he had to divide he's time (composing-conducting-playing) to support he's family. And the revolution was itself very traumatic (i think he for instance stopped writing songs after that...?).

Though there is a notable preference to d-minor (Symphony 1, Trio op9, sonata 1, Isle of death) and the dies irae-chant  is looming around he was a rich in ideas- just look at he's miniatures, songs and piano etudes & preludes how varied they are!!

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Brewski on August 16, 2010, 10:36:09 AM
Nice post here (http://www.therestisnoise.com/2010/08/rachmaninov-in-valhalla.html) by Alex Ross, who went to visit Rachmaninoff's grave in Valhalla, NY. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 16, 2010, 10:45:53 AM
Nice post here (http://www.therestisnoise.com/2010/08/rachmaninov-in-valhalla.html) by Alex Ross, who went to visit Rachmaninoff's grave in Valhalla, NY. 

--Bruce

Thanks for the link, Bruce. I now have a town in New York I definitely want to live in. Valhalla  8)

"Here's a picture of the Valhalla fire department (insert your own jokes)" --Alex Ross

 ;D :D ;D


Sarge
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Brewski on August 16, 2010, 10:50:28 AM
Yes, that gave me quite a chuckle, too--both the town and the fire department joke invitation.  (OK, OK--I'm envisioning the truck rushing to a small cabin somewhere called "Götterdämmerung.")

PS, you may have heard about Ross's third book--the second one, Listen to This, will be out in the fall--called Wagnerism.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on August 16, 2010, 10:56:51 AM
I'll read it : )
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 16, 2010, 10:58:13 AM
PS, you may have heard about Ross's third book--the second one, Listen to This, will be out in the fall--called Wagnerism.

I hadn't heard about it. Thanks for the heads up. I'm sure I'll buy it. I love his style; loved The Rest Is Noise.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on August 16, 2010, 11:06:24 AM
Nice post here (http://www.therestisnoise.com/2010/08/rachmaninov-in-valhalla.html) by Alex Ross, who went to visit Rachmaninoff's grave in Valhalla, NY. 

--Bruce

Thanks Bruce.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Dax on August 17, 2010, 12:17:32 AM
Incidentally, members should be aware of this version of the prelude op 23 no 5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qacvEmY_1fc
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: jochanaan on August 17, 2010, 08:19:13 AM
My parents had a 78 album which contained the Rach performance of the 3rd.  It was a long time ago; unfortunately I don't recall details.  What I vaguely remember is that many sections of recent performances were then omitted, probably because of space...
That may have been one reason, but by all reports Rachmaninoff became dissatisfied with the length and structure of his earlier works, and many of the cuts that you usually hear in recordings done before the 1960s were apparently sanctioned by him...
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: abidoful on August 17, 2010, 10:01:33 AM
I dislike those cuts and modifications--sanctioned by him or not-- beware, the two versions of the 2nd sonata are two totally different pieces!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on August 17, 2010, 10:03:58 AM
I abhor the cuts, likewise.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on August 17, 2010, 10:11:15 AM
I dislike those cuts and modifications--sanctioned by him or not-- beware, the two versions of the 2nd sonata are two totally different pieces!

There's a third by Horowitz as well.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: jochanaan on August 17, 2010, 10:22:18 AM
Yeah, I prefer the uncut versions myself.  Sometimes the composer actually ISN'T right! :o ;D
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Saul on August 17, 2010, 10:57:56 AM
Excuse me, but this composer seems to have a total of two or three self-pitying ideas which he recycles relentlessly and endlessly. Why is this papmeister played on classical music stations regularly, even respectable ones? Am I missing something?
Shall I armour myself against flames here?

He is the Russian Vivaldi...
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Air on August 17, 2010, 03:08:05 PM
He is the Russian Vivaldi...

 :o
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on November 08, 2010, 02:40:17 PM
I can only find a thread on Rachmaninov's piano music, which I can't access. So here's a general thread. I think that sometimes people are a bit embarrassed to express an appreciation of Rachmaninov as there is (or was) the assumption (as with Tchaikovsky) that it is too populist and low-brow. I disagree and I think that 'The Bells' (oratorio after Poe) is a truly great score. I am listening to the Symphony No 1 (Slatkin version) on Vox, which is my favourite of the symphonies - I especially like the way in which the music topples into the abyss at the end, having threatened to do so throughout the symphony. 'The Isle of the Dead'. 'The Rock' and the 'Symphonic Dances' are other favourites.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Scarpia on November 08, 2010, 03:10:49 PM
Isle of the dead is a wonderful piece.  The Symphonic Dances, also.  The symphonies, a bit overblown at times.  Previn's set on EMI is a standard recommendation but Jansson's set of recordings with St. Petersburgh brings a wonderful Russian sound to the music.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 08, 2010, 04:18:15 PM
Isle of the dead is a wonderful piece.  The Symphonic Dances, also.  The symphonies, a bit overblown at times.  Previn's set on EMI is a standard recommendation but Jansson's set of recordings with St. Petersburgh brings a wonderful Russian sound to the music.

I disagree that the Previn set on EMI is the "standard" recommendation for Rachmaninov's symphonies. I think Ashkenazy easily wins that nomination. I do agree that the Jansons set is recommendable. I also find the Svetlanov set recommendable to those more seasoned listeners who have already digested Ashkenazy's and Jansons' cycles.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: DavidW on November 08, 2010, 04:28:52 PM
I love the Previn recording, but time after time I see on both reviews and forums that the Ashkenazy as the standard rec.  I don't hear Janssons as sounding Russian, I hear Ashkenazy in that mode.  Janssons is a very color, cosmopolitan take on the music.  Transparent, textured reveling in subtle detail for Jansssons.  Ashkenazy is the deep, emotionally stirring reading.  Well that's my take anyway.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 08, 2010, 04:36:12 PM
I love the Previn recording, but time after time I see on both reviews and forums that the Ashkenazy as the standard rec.  I don't hear Janssons as sounding Russian, I hear Ashkenazy in that mode.  Janssons is a very color, cosmopolitan take on the music.  Transparent, textured reveling in subtle detail for Jansssons.  Ashkenazy is the deep, emotionally stirring reading.  Well that's my take anyway.

Interesting take, Dave, the Ashkenazy Rachmaninov set (on Decca) gets heavy recommendations from fans and critics alike. The Jansons is good, but Ashkenazy, I feel, has him beat for sheer emotional directness and the playing from the Royal Concertgebouw (one of my all-time favorite orchestras) is outstanding.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lethevich on January 07, 2011, 11:34:34 PM
Some more love for the gentle tone poem "The Rock" here.

Also, bump.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: karlhenning on April 01, 2011, 10:52:10 AM
Free to a good home, PM me if interested:



(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00000DO49.01.L.jpg)


Hm, second image seems not to fly: Symphony 3, Symphonic Dances; Mackerras, Royal Liverpool Phil

[ Both are good recordings; a matter of Space. ]
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: klingsor on April 12, 2011, 03:22:21 AM
I certainly agree with Vandermolen that Rachmaninov is a fine composer and that "The Bells" is a masterpiece. Recently I read a comment saying that those who have dismissed this composer usually change their mind after hearing this work. It's incredibly powerful orchestral music, thematically inspired and brilliant in its setting of the Constantin Balmont texts (after E.A. Poe). This work will haunt you long after you hear it.

The Third Piano Concerto is another masterpiece that is (I think) largely undisputed nowadays. Over the years I have heard all the standard rep piano concerti, along with many others, and Rach 3 really holds its own near the top of the list.

The 3 symphonies are also very good works (the Third being the most successful, imho), along with the Symphonic Dances (which is almost a symphony)

A highly accomplished composer, Rachmaninov has had to suffer the curse of being popular, due to a handful of pieces. Glad to see some admiration here.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 12, 2011, 03:52:01 AM
Personally, what's not to like? Soaring and glorious melodies. Amazing technical difficuties (some pieces). Soulful music that connects more than most. I think the Bells and his operas are often overlooked - some wonderful music there. And for piano lovers, he's written some of the best preludes and etudes out there (not to mention sonatas). Speaking of which, here's a favorite:


also found here



Incidentally, I always thought that the Previn #2 was the reference version (or seemed to be), while the Ashkenazy set was the reference set. Regardless, I think both do a fine job bringing out the best in the music. It's been a while since I sat down to compare the two - might be a fun thing do one some future weekend (and I'll throw Pletnev into the mix, who seems to be divisive in this symphony).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on April 12, 2011, 05:42:56 AM
A highly accomplished composer, Rachmaninov has had to suffer the curse of being popular

I guess Rachmaninoff is more popular for "All by myself" than for any complete work of his own.  ;D

Popular, therefore good is a handbook fallacy, but so is its counterpart: popular, therefore bad.  :)

Personally, what's not to like? Soaring and glorious melodies. Amazing technical difficuties (some pieces). Soulful music that connects more than most. I think the Bells and his operas are often overlooked - some wonderful music there. And for piano lovers, he's written some of the best preludes and etudes out there (not to mention sonatas).

Neal, you keep adding to the amount of beers I intend to offer you should we ever meet face to face.  :D
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on April 12, 2011, 05:53:05 AM
Some more love for the gentle tone poem "The Rock" here.

Also, bump.

Yes!  I recall hearing it for the first time, perhaps in the early 1970's, and was amazed by its expressivity.

The Bells is another "unknown" and "under-rated" masterpiece: again, when I first heard it back in the 1960's, I could not believe that it was not better known.

People sometimes wonder what kind of music Prokofiev and Shostakovich might have composed, if Russia had been a free society.

The same guessing game applies to Rakhmaninov: more operas, more symphonies,more piano concertos?  Possibly he would not have had to wander the earth in search of his daily bread, if Russia had not been kidnapped to suffer under Communism.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Scarpia on April 12, 2011, 06:05:34 AM
People sometimes wonder what kind of music Prokofiev and Shostakovich might have composed, if Russia had been a free society.

If Russia had been a free society they may very well have become disillusioned by popular neglect produced less, or turned to commercially viable forms of music, i.e., Bartok, Korngold.  Prokofiev was living in a free society when he decided to return to Russia.
 
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on April 12, 2011, 06:11:51 AM
If Russia had been a free society they may very well have become disillusioned by popular neglect produced less, or turned to commercially viable forms of music, i.e., Bartok, Korngold.

If Russia had been a free society perhaps Prokofiev would have turned to commercial music a la Bartok (whatever this might mean), but tens of millions innocents would have been spared their lives --- a perfectly balanced trade-off.  ;D

Quote
Prokofiev was living in a free society when he decided was lured to into returning to Russia.

Fixed.  ;D
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Scarpia on April 12, 2011, 10:12:24 AM
If Russia had been a free society perhaps Prokofiev would have turned to commercial music a la Bartok (whatever this might mean), but tens of millions innocents would have been spared their lives --- a perfectly balanced trade-off.  ;D

Fixed.  ;D

I don't discount the suffering under the Soviet Union, but when I think of the people who suffered under that regime, Shostakovich and Prokofiev aren't the first to come to mind. 
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on April 12, 2011, 10:44:59 AM
I don't discount the suffering under the Soviet Union, but when I think of the people who suffered under that regime, Shostakovich and Prokofiev aren't the first to come to mind.

Exactly my point.  :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Scarpia on April 12, 2011, 10:50:40 AM
Exactly my point.  :)

Fine.  But the question was what effect the regime had on Shostakovich and Prokofiev.  At least in the case of Shostakovich, it imposed the constraint that the music had to sound happy to Stalin and sarcastic to anyone with half a brain.  It was a compositional challenge that Shostakovich seemed to find stimulating.  Prokofiev maybe not so much, most of his best music seems to come before he moved.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 12, 2011, 12:05:31 PM
Neal, you keep adding to the amount of beers I intend to offer you should we ever meet face to face.  :D
I guess I should start keeping track then!   ;)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: madaboutmahler on October 29, 2011, 05:38:05 AM
Can't believe how little appreciation for Rachmaninov there is here on GMG.
Seeing the 'Symphonic Dances' live yesterday evening prompted me to come here and share my enthusiasm for Rachmaninov. :)

Rachmaninov has been one of my absolute favourites ever since I started listening to music. Great works such as the 2nd piano concerto, Paganini variations and 2nd symphony became my favourites back then. Now, however much I love those works still, I really see these three as my absolute favourites and also believe that they are Rachmaninov's three greatest masterpieces: Symphonic Dances, The Isle of the Dead, and the 3rd piano concerto. Such great pieces, full of beautiful melodies, intense passion, amazingly masterful and colourful orchestration and powerful emotional content. These three pieces would all be in my top 30 pieces of all time.

Have to say that seeing the Symphonic Dances live yesterday was absolutely thrilling - the LPO/Gaffigan gave such an excellent performance. So brilliant in fact that I am already trying to persuade my dad to book another concert with the dances as the main piece in which Vasily Petrenko will conduct the Philharmonia! ;)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Dundonnell on October 29, 2011, 05:56:28 AM
I hate doing this but......

The First Symphony is a marvellous work, so is 'The Bells' :)  I like the glowering menace of 'Isle of the Dead' and 'The Rock'.

The rest....I could not run far enough away from :(

I used to like the Symphonic Dances when I was forty years younger but now...it makes little impression on me. The 2nd Symphony and the Second and Third Piano Concertos? High up on my (imaginery) list
of least favourite works :(

Why? All I can say is that there is something about the romantic, nostalgic, wistfulness of Rachmaninov after he left Russia which just repels me. It is a totally subjective, emotional/aesthetic response which
I cannot overcome. I would not-for one second-attempt to persuade anyone else that they should share my reactions or that they should rate the composer any less highly than they do :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: snyprrr on October 29, 2011, 06:06:17 AM
Free to a good home, PM me if interested:



(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00000DO49.01.L.jpg)


Hm, second image seems not to fly: Symphony 3, Symphonic Dances; Mackerras, Royal Liverpool Phil

[ Both are good recordings; a matter of Space. ]


uh oh,... now Karl's giving away his collection :o :o
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on October 29, 2011, 07:07:14 AM
What a genius he was, Sergei Rachmaninov is certainly one of my favourite composers of all time :D He is also one of the first I started listening to, as I'm a massive piano lover :)

His music is extremely powerfully evocative and highly beautiful, and shows brilliant rhythmic flexibility and chromatic harmony; when I listen to Rach's pieces, I'm always very touched and impressed by their great beauty and passion, it's like I could perceive the inner feelings Rachmaninov felt when he composed. And as a matter of fact, once he said:"I write on a piece of paper the inner music I feel".

Some of my favourite Rachmaninov's works include Piano Concertos No.2 & 3, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Symphonic Dances, Isle of the Dead and the Symphonies.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on December 10, 2011, 01:45:11 PM
What a genius he was, Sergei Rachmaninov is certainly one of my favourite composers of all time :D He is also one of the first I started listening to, as I'm a massive piano lover :)

His music is extremely powerfully evocative and highly beautiful, and shows brilliant rhythmic flexibility and chromatic harmony; when I listen to Rach's pieces, I'm always very touched and impressed by their great beauty and passion, it's like I could perceive the inner feelings Rachmaninov felt when he composed. And as a matter of fact, once he said:"I write on a piece of paper the inner music I feel".

Some of my favourite Rachmaninov's works include Piano Concertos No.2 & 3, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Symphonic Dances, Isle of the Dead and the Symphonies.

I am fond of the quirky 4th Piano Concerto too - underrated I think.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on December 10, 2011, 02:04:42 PM
I am fond of the quirky 4th Piano Concerto too - underrated I think.

Yes, it's not one of the most famous Rachmaninov's works, but it's certainly a brilliant composition, both for the piano technique and for the great harmony and beautiful orchestration.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Marc on December 10, 2011, 02:54:35 PM
This thread could be merged with this one (?):

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,15381.0.html

Anyway, just listening to Rach's 2nd piano concerto with Zoltán Kocsis and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edo de Waart. It's an 'oldie' from the Philips catalogue, which I like quite a lot.

(http://i42.tinypic.com/1zprx4j.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Antoine Marchand on December 10, 2011, 04:04:52 PM
Anyway, just listening to Rach's 2nd piano concerto with Zoltán Kocsis and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edo de Waart. It's an 'oldie' from the Philips catalogue, which I like quite a lot.

(http://i42.tinypic.com/1zprx4j.jpg)

Interesting. Edo de Waart was great in this repertoire. His piano concerto cycle with Rafael Orozco is one of my favorites.

(http://cover7.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioArt/Large/14/1178414.jpg)

http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1169269/a/Serge+Rachmaninoff%3A+Piano+Concertos+Nos.+1-4%2FRhapsody+On+A+Theme+By+Paganini.htm

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on December 10, 2011, 04:15:52 PM
Rakh wrote lovely stuff, especially the 2nd & 3rd Concertos, Symphonic Dances, Isle of Death, preludes, and etudes.

Tempting:


Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ibanezmonster on December 10, 2011, 04:28:46 PM
I'm sorry, but every work I've heard by him, including some you mention, seem to me to recycle the same limited batch of a few melodic and harmonic ideas.
It's called "style."
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: lescamil on December 10, 2011, 09:15:27 PM
Here is how I feel about Rachmaninoff: I believe he is about as far as you could get from being an innovator, relative to the other well known composers, but I still respect that he was good at what he did. The pieces he wrote are well crafted and a joy to listen to, despite Rachmaninoff's reluctance to 'get with the program', relative to the times he lived in. As a great admirer of 20th century music, I don't like that he turned his nose up to modernism, but he still knew how to compose well.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 11, 2011, 05:41:25 AM
Here is how I feel about Rachmaninoff: I believe he is about as far as you could get from being an innovator, relative to the other well known composers. . . .

Was Bach an innovator?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: lescamil on December 11, 2011, 11:26:13 AM
Was Bach an innovator?

Uh oh, looks like I opened up a can of worms with that statement. I'll still go ahead and say yes.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ibanezmonster on December 11, 2011, 05:16:28 PM
Was Bach an innovator?
Definitely.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 20, 2011, 12:29:52 PM
Uh oh, looks like I opened up a can of worms with that statement. I'll still go ahead and say yes.

Definitely.

Then, list his innovations, thanks!

Thread duty:

It may be all the Haydn I've been listening to (and enjoying), but I find that my ears have a fresh attentiveness toward and hunger for the Rakhmaninov symphonies . . . really digging a performance of the Second Symphony by the San Diego Symphony at the moment.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: eyeresist on December 21, 2011, 03:31:17 PM
Ashkenazy in the symphonies is no longer satisfactory for me. Now I must choose between Svetlanov and Previn....
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: madaboutmahler on May 10, 2012, 08:08:35 AM
Thought I would revive this thread a little by posting my top recommendation for the Andsnes/Pappano/LSO recording of the 3rd/4th piano concertos. Nowadays, the recording I always go to for both of these works, even over Ashkenazy, however fine those classic performances are!

Anyone else know them? :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 10, 2012, 08:20:43 AM
Splendid, Daniel! High time this thread was revived.
 
I don't know that recording, though . . . .
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 10, 2012, 08:28:46 AM
Ashkenazy in the symphonies is no longer satisfactory for me. Now I must choose between Svetlanov and Previn....

..or The ROZH!

http://www.youtube.com/v/QNRxHyZDU-Q
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: madaboutmahler on May 10, 2012, 08:33:35 AM
Splendid, Daniel! High time this thread was revived.
 
I don't know that recording, though . . . .

:)

I would highly recommend this to you, Karl! I think I wrote a review a while ago for this cd on amazon by the way...
Here it is:


My review is a couple down. ;)

Hope I have persuaded you to get it! ;)

By the way, has anyone heard Pappano's Rach Symphony no.2? I'd be interested to hear this as he was outstanding with Andsnes on the concert recordings. :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on May 10, 2012, 11:02:26 AM
That Andsnes album looks interesting, Danny. I like his 2nd PC recording, and Schumann (1st sonata & fantaisie).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: madaboutmahler on May 10, 2012, 11:11:20 AM
That Andsnes album looks interesting, Danny. I like his 2nd PC recording, and Schumann (1st sonata & fantaisie).

It comes with very high recommendations from me, Karlo! Yes, the recordings of the 1st and 2nd PCs with the BPO and Pappano are also excellent. But I think Andsnes excels even further in these recordings of the 3rd and 4th.

I once saw Andsnes perform the 3rd, again with the LSO and Pappano, in a concert coupled with Tchaikovsky 6, which was excellent.
I would be very interested to hear his performance of the Schumann. He really is an excellent pianist.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on May 10, 2012, 11:36:55 AM
I was talking about his solo piano Schumann recording, but the concerto seem to be highly regarded, too.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: madaboutmahler on May 10, 2012, 11:42:53 AM
I was talking about his solo piano Schumann recording, but the concerto seem to be highly regarded, too.

I'd certainly be interested in hearing both! :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on May 10, 2012, 12:00:29 PM
All this chit-chat about Rach's Piano Concertos has made me want to listen to them. ;D No.3 with Ashkenazy/Previn!!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: mszczuj on May 10, 2012, 12:36:55 PM
..or The ROZH!

Yes! It is the most magic Rozhdestvensky I ever heard. And I have probably heard more Rozhdestvensky's records than of any other conductor as he was the main option for Russian music available in my country when I was strating my listening madness.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on May 10, 2012, 01:36:25 PM
Yes! It is the most magic Rozhdestvensky I ever heard. And I have probably heard more Rozhdestvensky's records than of any other conductor as he was the main option for Russian music available in my country when I was starting my listening madness.

Now that is a recommendation!

Have we really been neglecting The Rach?

He cannot possibly be happy about that!

(http://poorwilliam.net/pix/rachmaninoff-sirgei4.jpg)


Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Brian on May 10, 2012, 03:28:37 PM
..or The ROZH!

The Rozh is one of my all-time top 3 Rach Twos, with Ormandy (uncut '70s) and Previn EMI. Rozh might be #1 but I love that trio.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: raduneo on May 10, 2012, 07:57:51 PM
This thread isn't accessible from the composer index. :( I had no idea it existed until now! :O

A great composer, IMO! Maybe not to the level of Stravinksy, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev or Shostakovich, but definitely VERY noteworthy! (in my opinion)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on May 13, 2012, 03:08:47 PM
This thread isn't accessible from the composer index. :( I had no idea it existed until now! :O

A great composer, IMO! Maybe not to the level of Stravinksy, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev or Shostakovich, but definitely VERY noteworthy! (in my opinion)

Well, have you heard The Bells, his unofficial "4th" Symphony, although composed before the Third?

Or Isle of the Dead?

Or The Covetous Knight?

Although he composed "only" c. 40 works, I think he is on the same level as the others.  Schoenberg is another with "only" 40 works or so, but...

Schoenberg
vs. The Rach...now that would be interesting!

On whether psychotherapy affected Rachmaninoff's creativity for good or ill, i.e. whether a future Russian Schoenberg sent in an awry direction:

http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/030416-NL-Rachmaninov.html (http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/030416-NL-Rachmaninov.html)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: BobsterLobster on May 14, 2012, 04:56:33 PM
Well, have you heard The Bells, his unofficial "4th" Symphony, although composed before the Third?

Or Isle of the Dead?

Or The Covetous Knight?

Although he composed "only" c. 40 works, I think he is on the same level as the others.  Schoenberg is another with "only" 40 works or so, but...

Schoenberg
vs. The Rach...now that would be interesting!

On whether psychotherapy affected Rachmaninoff's creativity for good or ill, i.e. whether a future Russian Schoenberg sent in an awry direction:

http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/030416-NL-Rachmaninov.html (http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/030416-NL-Rachmaninov.html)

Interesting article!

A Russian Schoenberg in the context of Rachmaninov makes me think of Roslavets...
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: BobsterLobster on May 14, 2012, 04:58:07 PM
Hmm, a quick bit of Wikepedia-ing shows that I'm not wide of the mark: "Roslavets was sometimes referred to as 'the Russian Schoenberg'"
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 18, 2012, 10:38:03 AM
http://www.wfmt.com/  will be streaming Chicago"s own Grant Park Orchestra's performance this evening, Khachaturian's Violin Concerto and Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances

Begins at 7:30 eastern, 6:30 central with no intermission. The above link has a "listen live" button on its home page, easy to navigate, also WFMT has apps for iPhone and iPad, not sure about other mobile devices.

Hope you get a chance to listen and enjoy, them be a great group of musicians!! Plus, if you're lucky you can hear police and fire truck sirens in the background (hall is outside)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on September 16, 2012, 05:52:51 AM
I just saw a TV ad for The Master, a new movie about (wink-wink) Scientology.

The background music used was from Rachmaninov's Isle of the Dead.

Unfortunately, I cannot find it anywhere online.  Anyway, the effect was highly unsettling!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 16, 2012, 09:27:35 AM
Besides being a wonderful composer, Rachmaninov was absolutely one of the best pianists of all time; I've always been very impressed by the precision, the delicacy, the rythmic flexibility and the passionate, beautifully expressive force of his piano technique.

http://www.youtube.com/v/kj3CHx3TDzw
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: DavidRoss on October 06, 2012, 03:44:35 AM
I just saw a TV ad for The Master, a new movie about (wink-wink) Scientology.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Amy Adams, this will be a "must-see" for me.

If it tells the truth about Hubbard's cult, Anderson may need Secret Service protection.

Here's the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/v/pALMMIoxTzY
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: DavidRoss on October 06, 2012, 03:46:49 AM
Back to Rachmaninoff --

The past couple of days I've been groovin' to his piano sonata in G minor.  Hadn't heard it in years and had forgotten how good it is.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on November 19, 2012, 01:00:32 PM
I watched this documentary more than once, but I hadn't payed attention to that because I usually let myself go to the poetical beauty and the passionate energy of Rachmaninov's music: is it merely my impression or at 03:54 Gergiev changes the march of the Allegro con fuoco of 1st Symphony?

http://www.youtube.com/v/vi3MU9JnL7E

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 07, 2013, 01:17:10 PM
Listening to Rach Symphony 1 as part of RSMM, and  :o this is the first time I have heard it in full, and oh my.... it's excellent! It certainly seems very reserved compared to no.2, with more subtle emotion, more deeply hidden. It's obviously a very personal work, so no wonder Rach was so depressed after the premiere failure. It's a great work, and I do think it deserves even more attention. I want to conduct it now :D

Think it's becoming a favourite :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on March 07, 2013, 01:37:48 PM
Listening to Rach Symphony 1 as part of RSMM ... with more subtle emotion, more deeply hidden. It's obviously a very personal work, so no wonder Rach was so depressed after the premiere failure. It's a great work, and I do think it deserves even more attention.

Think it's becoming a favourite :)

One wonders - if things had gone well at the premiere - how Rachmaninov might have developed as a result of a success with the First Symphony. Glazunov either did not understand the score, understood it and did not like it, or was never completely sober during the rehearsals and premiere.  Supposedly he cut out large sections of the score.

But yes, I have always considered it to be a great work (not that people have been waiting for my opinion  0:)   )

It is perhaps repetitious at times when there should be development, but... a small quibble.  Otherwise, a real psychomachia is heard throughout the music.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 07, 2013, 01:51:01 PM
Well, and largely by reason of the muddle instead of music he made of the Rakhmaninov First, and the consequent grinder he put the composer's soul through, I have thought rather ill of Glazunov all these years . . . .
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on March 09, 2013, 03:34:35 PM
I agree, it's an absolutely amazing, brilliant work; one of my favourites too.
Yes, although Rachmaninov was very influenced by Tchaikovsky's music, his first Symphony sounds the most personal of the three; it's a very intense, powerful and dramatic composition, whose timbres, melodies and brutal gestures create a gloomy, deep atmosphere which at the same time is also very evocative and hauntingly beautiful; it shows elegance, solemnity and all that poetical tragedy typical of the Russian spirit that still pervaded the works of composers like Tchaikovsky, Borodin, etc., but the overwhelming energy and the aggressiveness expressed are unprecedented in Russian music and make the symphony very original.
Instead with the 2nd Symphony, he seems to take a step backward and to come to a more tchaikovskian style: more rythmic flexibility and lyricism, sumptuous harmonies and a more colorful and varied orchestration.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 10, 2013, 06:35:24 AM
Wonderful description, Ilaria! :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChamberNut on March 10, 2013, 06:44:09 AM
Well, and largely by reason of the muddle instead of music he made of the Rakhmaninov First, and the consequent grinder he put the composer's soul through, I have thought rather ill of Glazunov all these years . . . .

Glazunov's musical signature:

AG _DDAC

Alexander Glazunov *rest* Don't Drink And Conduct!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on March 10, 2013, 01:13:49 PM
Wonderful description, Ilaria! :)

Thank you, Daniel. :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: thulium on March 11, 2013, 05:00:27 AM
Well, I believe Rach's 1-st symphony was too innovative for its time. Let's take the 2-nd movement (which is my favorite) it is absolutely genius! Now this symphony is much more understandable than 100 years ago.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 11, 2013, 06:28:50 AM
Well, I believe Rach's 1-st symphony was too innovative for its time. Let's take the 2-nd movement (which is my favorite) it is absolutely genius! Now this symphony is much more understandable than 100 years ago.

Whether it's understandable or not, doesn't change the fact that Glazunov single-handedly destroyed Rachmaninov's confidence with his drunken debauchery on the podium. Thankfully, Rachmaninov got up the courage to compose again. Symphony No. 1 could have become well-known if Glazunov didn't ruin everything.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on March 11, 2013, 01:05:19 PM
Whether it's understandable or not, doesn't change the fact that Glazunov single-handedly destroyed Rachmaninov's confidence with his drunken debauchery on the podium. Thankfully, Rachmaninov got up the courage to compose again. Symphony No. 1 could have become well-known if Glazunov didn't ruin everything.

Rachmaninov's grandson, Alexander, told that, some years later he had the chance to take revenge on Glazunov, but he wasn't in the habit of doing that: the conductor who had to perform one of Glazunov's symphonies became ill and Rachmaninov was asked to replace him; Rach's friends urged him to take revenge and made the performance awful, but Rachmaninov answered that he would do his best instead; and he did a beautiful performance of Glazunov's work. Certainly a great human being.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 11, 2013, 02:12:48 PM
Rachmaninov's grandson, Alexander, told that, some years later he had the chance to take revenge on Glazunov, but he wasn't in the habit of doing that: the conductor who had to perform one of Glazunov's symphonies became ill and Rachmaninov was asked to replace him; Rach's friends urged him to take revenge and made the performance awful, but Rachmaninov answered that he would do his best instead; and he did a beautiful performance of Glazunov's work. Certainly a great human being.

Absolutely, Ilaria. Only a truly terrible person would only sabotage something to seek revenge.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Brian on January 30, 2014, 01:14:28 PM
Coming soon

(http://ecstatic.textalk.se/shop/17115/art15/h6292/4826292-origpic-470228.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on January 30, 2014, 02:40:49 PM
One wonders - if things had gone well at the premiere - how Rachmaninov might have developed as a result of a success with the First Symphony. Glazunov either did not understand the score, understood it and did not like it, or was never completely sober during the rehearsals and premiere.  Supposedly he cut out large sections of the score.

But yes, I have always considered it to be a great work (not that people have been waiting for my opinion  0:)   )

It is perhaps repetitious at times when there should be development, but... a small quibble.  Otherwise, a real psychomachia is heard throughout the music.

Has it really been almost a year since anyone has written here about The Rach? :o :o ??? ???

Glad to see that a new recording of the Vespers is due soon!

Let me recommend something for new people here and the older ones:

Two of the most neglected works in his catalogue: the two Piano Sonatas by The Rach.

Amazingly, there are not many choices (which is why I wrote "neglected" above): I had a marvelous LP with John Ogdon playing both sonatas, but it seems unavailable on CD.

This one has 6 5-star reviews!

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 30, 2014, 04:07:31 PM
Let me recommend something for new people here and the older ones:

Two of the most neglected works in his catalogue: the two Piano Sonatas by The Rach.

Amazingly, there are not many choices (which is why I wrote "neglected" above): I had a marvelous LP with John Ogdon playing both sonatas, but it seems unavailable on CD.

Small world, Cato! Just yesterday I gave Rach's second piano sonata a listen and posted about it in the WAYLT thread. And as far as the subject of why the sonatas (or at least the second sonata) aren't better known, I think the answer was provided for me during the listening session:



Rachmaninoff's second piano sonata....[snip]....the piece itself is very imaginative but it's not hard to see why it's an "under the radar" type of work: it lacks the overall cohesive feel of a "standard" sonata, such as Liszt's, Beethoven's, etc. It's more a vignette-type of piece that could almost be broken up and rearranged as, well, preludes, which actually round out this disc.

But purely as a listening experience it's definitely grade-A(-) stuff.







Looking back, what my theory amounts to above is up for debate. But I agree with you that the sonatas are undeservedly neglected works.

BTW, I also have this (OOP :'() disc:



(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/130/MI0001130485.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on January 30, 2014, 08:53:17 PM
Looking back, what my theory amounts to above is up for debate. But I agree with you that the sonatas are undeservedly neglected works.

BTW, I also have this (OOP :'() disc:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/130/MI0001130485.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I have a copy of that one. I like it more than his recording of the preludes (too much brawn and not enough beauty.)

I also love the two sonatas, but I think they need the right performance to come off well. Horowitz's live 1981 performance pf PS 2 is powerfully impressive, as is Fiorentino's PS 1.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kishnevi on January 30, 2014, 09:04:11 PM
What do folks here think of Ashkenazy's recordings of the Sonatas.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41lihS8AijL._SY300_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51jE42-0GsL._SY300__.jpg)

I have the duo with the second sonata: I confess it's been a very long time since I've played anything from it.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 30, 2014, 09:44:17 PM
I have a copy of that one. I like it more than his recording of the preludes (too much brawn and not enough beauty.)

I actually get along with Weissenberg's preludes disc pretty well. His Rach 2 with Karajan is another entertaining disc (especially the finale).

Quote
I also love the two sonatas, but I think they need the right performance to come off well. Horowitz's live 1981 performance pf PS 2 is powerfully impressive, as is Fiorentino's PS 1.

Wasn't aware of Fiorentino's recording. That's gotta be good (not really a Horowitz fan, though).

BTW, I forgot to mention this in my previous post but I love Todd's reaction to the Kocsis Rach disc above:

Kocsis' playing is so freakin' awesome on that disc.

 ;D

Worth a try if you haven't heard it, George. :)

 
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on January 31, 2014, 04:01:31 AM
Worth a try if you haven't heard it, George. :)

Will keep an eye out.

What do folks here think of Ashkenazy's recordings of the Sonatas.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41lihS8AijL._SY300_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51jE42-0GsL._SY300__.jpg)

I have the duo with the second sonata: I confess it's been a very long time since I've played anything from it.

It weird, but although his Preludes are the best complete set I have heard, the rest of his Rach solo work does little for me.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on January 31, 2014, 05:32:28 AM
Small world, Cato! Just yesterday I gave Rach's second piano sonata a listen and posted about it in the WAYLT thread. And as far as the subject of why the sonatas (or at least the second sonata) aren't better known, I think the answer was provided for me during the listening session:


(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/130/MI0001130485.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Weissenberg resembled Rachmaninov somewhat, I always thought!  And yes, his performances were always worthwhile.

An obituary excerpt from 2012:

Quote
In a career that began in the late 1940s, Mr. Weissenberg appeared as a soloist with the world’s leading orchestras, played recitals on celebrated stages and made many recordings. A naturalized French citizen, he was a Romantic specialist, most closely associated with Schumann, Chopin and perhaps especially Rachmaninoff, whose percussive pyrotechnics suited him.

Mr. Weissenberg’s cool yet blazing approach divided reviewers. Where some heard impeccable technique, others heard soulless efficiency. Where some embraced the drama of his interpretations, others condemned them for aggressiveness.

On these points, however, nearly everyone agreed:

Mr. Weissenberg possessed a technical prowess rivaled by few other pianists. The ice of his demeanor at the keyboard (he sat, leaned forward and got down to business, playing with scarcely a smile or grimace) was matched by the fire that came off the keys. He could play very fast, and very loud. (Over time, verbs used to characterize his pianism included “barrel,” “tear,” “thunder” and “let loose.”)

See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/arts/music/alexis-weissenberg-pianist-of-fire-and-ice-dies-at-82.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/arts/music/alexis-weissenberg-pianist-of-fire-and-ice-dies-at-82.html?_r=0)

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 31, 2014, 09:58:27 PM
Weissenberg resembled Rachmaninov somewhat, I always thought!  And yes, his performances were always worthwhile.

I hadn't noticed the resemblance but I see it now. :)

Quote
An obituary excerpt from 2012:

See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/arts/music/alexis-weissenberg-pianist-of-fire-and-ice-dies-at-82.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/arts/music/alexis-weissenberg-pianist-of-fire-and-ice-dies-at-82.html?_r=0)



Thanks for that. I like this from the end:


Quote
“I still don’t know why my playing is considered so disturbing,” he told The Times in 1983. “I remember in school, as a child, I learned that the flame of a candle is composed of a yellow light, which actually burns, and a blue light within it, which is ice cold. That is true of human beings as well. Perhaps it is the sight of that blue light in me that frightens certain people.


Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on April 22, 2015, 12:51:01 PM
I wanted to say how much I enjoyed a very interesting disc on a Chandos of Valeri Polyansky conducting Rachmaninov tone poems. It is unusual to see them all gathered together on one disc and I found it to be very atmospheric and evocative listening and enjoyed it all. I never realised that the fine tone poem 'The Rock' or 'The Crag' was based on a Checkov short story ('On the Road') which the evocative cover image also alludes to. Apart from the well-known 'Isle of the Dead' the CD features 'The Rock', 'Prince Rostilav' which I thoroughly enjoyed, having never heard before, Caprice Bohemien and the 'Scherzo'; most of these work demonstrate characteristic gloom and melancholy which I find greatly appealing. All in all a very atmospheric and beautifully performed and recorded CD which I would thoroughly recommend. There is a lot of snobbish condescension in relation to Rachmaninov but he was a fine composer:


I started an extraneous thread on Rachmaninov without realising that this one existed so I have locked it. Apologies for this.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on July 19, 2015, 11:03:36 AM
I placed this on "What Are You Listening To?"


From this collection, the local classical station played Rachmaninov's Paganini Variations with Moshe Atzmon conducting the New Philharmonia Orchestra, Agustino Anievas the soloist.



I missed parts of it, but from what I did hear...well, let's just say I have never heard a more manic, frantic, and demonic performance!  At times it seemed the  poor soloist  was barely keeping  up!  I would need to hear it again to give a full review, given that the car radio's quality is not as good as the home stereo.

But...wow!  Does anyone happen to have this collection?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 20, 2015, 12:33:26 AM
No, but I think some sampling is in order . . . .
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on September 04, 2015, 08:17:49 AM
And what about his early two short string quartets from the time he was a student on the Conservatory? Only 2 movements each, but very well done.

+1 Both trio élégiaques are sheer beauty as well.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 04, 2015, 08:27:14 AM
Indeed.

Or, if you prefer, verily  :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on September 04, 2015, 08:45:25 AM
Indeed.

Or, if you prefer, verily  :)

Indeedily (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFVK_LunEqE).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2015, 09:58:20 PM
Some recent Rachmaninov purchases:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61X2YQQxl7L._SL1500_.jpg) (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/150dpi/034571154312.png)

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/150dpi/034571175010.png) (http://d24jnm9llkb1ub.cloudfront.net/icpn/00028947857327/00028947857327-cover-zoom.jpg)

(http://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/02/59/0002894215902_600.jpg)

Do any of you know any of these recordings? Some feedback would be great. Thanks.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on November 17, 2015, 02:39:32 AM
Do any of you know any of these recordings? Some feedback would be great. Thanks.

I know the Ashkenazy/Haitink Piano Concertos, that is a definitely beautiful set; very intense, passionate and powerful performances, they certainly stand the comparison with the Ashkenazy/Previn terribly well. You can't go wrong with Ashkenazy in Rachmaninov, so I wouldn't worry about the Piano Trios either.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChamberNut on November 17, 2015, 05:28:32 AM
Some recent Rachmaninov purchases:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61X2YQQxl7L._SL1500_.jpg)
Do any of you know any of these recordings? Some feedback would be great. Thanks.

Hmmm, not familiar with this one?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2015, 06:59:43 AM
I know the Ashkenazy/Haitink Piano Concertos, that is a definitely beautiful set; very intense, passionate and powerful performances, they certainly stand the comparison with the Ashkenazy/Previn terribly well. You can't go wrong with Ashkenazy in Rachmaninov, so I wouldn't worry about the Piano Trios either.

Thanks, Ilaria. I listened to some of the Ashkenazy/Haitink set on Spotify and was immediately gripped by what I was hearing. Can't wait to dig into that set.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2015, 07:00:24 AM
Hmmm, not familiar with this one?

This is a reissue of the Svetlanov set. It's been remastered, too.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 21, 2015, 08:33:10 PM
Vesna (Spring), Op. 20

(https://gohomeandaway.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/levitan-big-waters-spring-flood.jpg)

Spring (Vesna), Op. 20, is a single-movement cantata for baritone, chorus and orchestra, written by Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1902. The work was finished after the famous Second Piano Concerto. Rachmaninoff intended to revise the cantata's orchestration but never did so.

The work is based on a poem by Nikolay Nekrasov and describes the return of the Zelyoniy shum, or "green rustle". The poem tells of a husband who, fraught with murderous thoughts towards his unfaithful wife during the winter season, is ultimately freed from his frustration and choler by the return of spring.

[Article taken from Wikipedia]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Spring, for me, is one of those works that seems relatively hidden in Rachmaninov's oeuvre. I wouldn't say it's a 'hidden gem' as it has received several performances, but it's not a work that's discussed much (for whatever reasons). Personally, I think it's one of his best, although that's a pretty large list. ;) I can't say I have a favorite performance right now, but Kitajenko's on Chandos with Jorma Hynninen and Danish National Symphony Orchestra & Chorus is quite impressive. I would say that the traits I mostly associate with Rachmaninov's music like the feelings associated with yearning and sadness are quite present in Spring. Simply put: a must-hear for anyone who hasn't heard the work yet.

Any fans of this work here?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 22, 2015, 04:39:40 PM
The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29

(http://www.stmoroky.com/reviews/gallery/bocklin/iotd~1L.jpg)

Described by Stravinsky as "six feet two inches of Russian gloom," Rachmaninov was attracted by the Dies irae theme, a melody used in the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead, or Requiem Mass. He very frequently quoted or alluded to this theme in his compositions, including the The Isle of the Dead, regarded as the quintessential expression of the composer's melancholy. This work was inspired by the painting by Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin. Böcklin's haunting painting depicts an island, in front of which stands a barricade of stones. Further out from it, jutting high out of the sea, is a huge rock, within which are large chambers for the dead. A boat can be seen on the waters operated by a black-clad helmsman, whose white-robed passenger stands ghost-like. Rachmaninov's composition begins with rhythmic motif played by muted cellos and harp, suggesting the movement of the dark waters near the barricade surrounding the lifeless isle. A somber second theme, presented by French horn, reinforces the despondent mood. Soon there are hints of the Dies irae theme, after which the opening motif returns. The music then becomes restless and intense, the tempo increasing, orchestral colors appearing. A climax is reached and the material from the opening reappears, now fuller and agitated. Finally the music subsides, but afterwards there are more allusions to the Dies irae melody. A new theme appears, on strings and reeds, and rises to an impassioned climax, the music yearning, struggling, it seems, to offer some consolation or hoping to escape this strange world. A further climactic episode ensues, after which the fragment of the Dies irae once more dominates this grim musical landscape. Afterward the music fades, and the dark material of the opening returns. Just before the ending there comes a nearly full statement of the Dies irae melody.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Isle of the Dead, for me, is one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed. I mean it has everything. It certainly is leaps and bounds ahead of so many symphonic poems of the time in terms of thematic development, pure musical invention, and, it's just plain old good fun, but not without an emotional depth to it that makes you think and actually really see Bocklin's vision in music. A masterpiece without hesitation. Any favorite performances? I really like Ashkenazy's, but I think he has been superseded by Svetlanov. I heard Polyansky's is really good, so I'll definitely give this one a listen (it's in the Complete Edition on Brilliant Classics).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on November 23, 2015, 12:57:32 AM
I prefer The Rock.  8)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 23, 2015, 09:55:47 AM
I prefer The Rock.  8)

Okay?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on November 26, 2015, 12:18:15 PM
I absolutely agree, The Isle of the Dead is a masterpiece, definitely one of my favourite tone poems. Brilliant orchestration, with passionate melodies, gorgeous climaxes and rich harmonies; the music is lyrical, powerfully suggestive and hauntingly beautiful, and it evokes so impressive images that is impossible not to be captured by it magic. My favourite performance of Rachmaninov's work is the Ashkenazy, no doubt.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on November 26, 2015, 01:55:40 PM
I absolutely agree, The Isle of the Dead is a masterpiece, definitely one of my favourite tone poems. Brilliant orchestration, with passionate melodies, gorgeous climaxes and rich harmonies; the music is lyrical, powerfully suggestive and hauntingly beautiful, and it evokes so impressive images that is impossible not to be captured by it magic. My favourite performance of Rachmaninov's work is the Ashkenazy, no doubt.

Easy choice for me as well. Thrilling!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: aukhawk on November 27, 2015, 02:43:33 AM
I don't generally gravitate towards Ashkenazy, and I also have Litton, Pletnev and Svetlanov, but of these, Ashkenazy is easily the outstanding choice, for this wonderful piece of music - my favourite Rachmaninov after the Vespers.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 27, 2015, 04:35:47 AM
My favorite Isle of the Dead performance would probably go to Polyansky on Chandos. This is a very atmospheric reading but with plenty of drive where there needs to be. It's possibly the most eerie of all the other performances I know.

Appears on this recording:

(http://www.chandos.net/hiresart/CHAN%2010104.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on November 27, 2015, 05:11:15 AM
My favorite Isle of the Dead performance would probably go to Polyansky on Chandos. This is a very atmospheric reading but with plenty of drive where there needs to be. It's possibly the most eerie of all the other performances I know.

Appears on this recording:

(http://www.chandos.net/hiresart/CHAN%2010104.jpg)

Yes, it is excellent: I always liked a recording with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Unfortunately I cannot find it on CD.  There is a similarly classic reading by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony on RCA.

https://www.youtube.com/v/V5-PeW66-W8

https://www.youtube.com/v/IIDzWd0Ifqc
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on November 27, 2015, 07:58:59 AM
My favorite Isle of the Dead performance would probably go to Polyansky on Chandos. This is a very atmospheric reading but with plenty of drive where there needs to be. It's possibly the most eerie of all the other performances I know.

Appears on this recording:

(http://www.chandos.net/hiresart/CHAN%2010104.jpg)
This is one of my favourite Rachmaninov CDs as the performances are great and it includes all the tone poems I think.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 27, 2015, 04:46:22 PM
Yes, it is excellent: I always liked a recording with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Unfortunately I cannot find it on CD.  There is a similarly classic reading by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony on RCA.

https://www.youtube.com/v/V5-PeW66-W8

https://www.youtube.com/v/IIDzWd0Ifqc

I thought this Ormandy performance of Isle of the Dead was in this Ormandy Conducts Rachmaninov box set I bought via Amazon Japan, but it is not. :( Strange it hasn't made it to CD yet. :-\ I don't know Reiner's Isle either, but I should really familiarize myself with it as he's always been a favorite conductor of mine. Thanks for mentioning these performances.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 27, 2015, 04:47:19 PM
This is one of my favourite Rachmaninov CDs as the performances are great and it includes all the tone poems I think.

Yes, that is correct, Jeffrey. All of the symphonic poems are on this Polyansky recording.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on November 27, 2015, 04:52:39 PM
Yes, that is correct, Jeffrey. All of the symphonic poems are on this Polyansky recording.

Prince Rostislav is not to be forgotten!  The Polyansky performance makes a strong case for it to be better known!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on November 27, 2015, 04:58:21 PM
I was surprisingly impressed by this recording, especially from Isle. I may need to explore more from this cycle...

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 27, 2015, 05:14:04 PM
I was surprisingly impressed by this recording, especially from Isle. I may need to explore more from this cycle...



I was underwhelmed by Petrenko's Rachmaninov to be honest, but he's up against some stiff competition. I mean they're good performances, but something sounds like it's missing to my ears.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 27, 2015, 05:14:30 PM
Prince Rostislav is not to be forgotten!  The Polyansky performance makes a strong case for it to be better known!

Yes, that's a great work! Good stuff.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on November 27, 2015, 05:43:28 PM
I thought this Ormandy performance of Isle of the Dead was in this Ormandy Conducts Rachmaninov box set I bought via Amazon Japan, but it is not. :( Strange it hasn't made it to CD yet. :-\ I don't know Reiner's Isle either, but I should really familiarize myself with it as he's always been a favorite conductor of mine. Thanks for mentioning these performances.

I suggest this CD for the Reiner (it has a great Totentanz with Janis, along with other goodies): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000003FAX?keywords=reiner%20sound&qid=1448674948&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 27, 2015, 05:53:54 PM
I suggest this CD for the Reiner (it has a great Totentanz with Janis, along with other goodies): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000003FAX?keywords=reiner%20sound&qid=1448674948&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Hot damn! I own this recording according to Amazon (bought it in July of 2009). 8) Thanks for the link, which ultimately acted as a reminder. ;)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 17, 2016, 10:30:27 PM
Just wondering, are Rachmaninov's songs considered to be of high quality? Which of the Op numbers are the best? (I'm a bit of a sucker for Russian song, but haven't heard any Rachmaninov songs yet).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) - songs
Post by: Scion7 on April 17, 2016, 10:55:03 PM
According to the New Grove:

For the 14 Songs op.34 (1910–12) he chose poems by some of the principal representatives of Russian Romanticism: Pushkin, Tyutchev, Polonsky, Khomyakov, Maykov and Korinfsky, and also the more modern Bal'mont. Most of the songs are tailored to the individual talents of certain Russian singers: the dramatic, declamatory ones, like V dushe u kazhdogo iz nas (‘In the Soul of Each of Us’, no.2), Tï znal yego (‘You Knew Him’, no.9), Obrochnik (‘The Peasant’, no.11) and Voskresheniye Lazarya (‘The Raising of Lazarus’, no.6), are dedicated to Chaliapin; the powerful Dissonans (‘Discord’, no.13) to Feliya Litvin; the more lyrical songs, like Kakoye schast'ye (‘What Happiness’, no.12), to Sobinov; and the wordless Vocalise (no.14) to Nezhdanova. Certain features of the op.34 songs (simple vocal lines; sensitive accompaniments that emphasize certain words and phrases by melodic inflections and harmonic shadings) were developed further in the six last songs (op.38). For these Rachmaninoff chose texts exclusively from the works of contemporary poets – Blok, Belïy, Severyanin, Bryusov, Sologub and Bal'mont – all of whom were prominent in the symbolist movement predominant in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th century. Here, as in the op.39 Etudes-tableaux, Rachmaninoff was concerned less with pure melody than with colouring; and his almost Impressionist style perfectly matches the symbolists’ mellifluous, elusive poetry in its translucent piano writing, constantly fluctuating rhythms and ambiguous harmonies.

They don't have any details about Three Russian Songs Op.41 (1926).

I have been so entrenched in his instrumental music, that I've never actually checked out the songs, a serious lack that, like Dr. Evil, I should be tied up and suspended in a burlap sack and beaten for.   :P

I will have to fix that ASAP.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Scion7 on April 17, 2016, 11:07:12 PM
Söderström & Ashkenazy:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIlClOTteQY  from 1973. She's a legend.

This - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya4qGDhWjFg - is very impressive.  Thanks for bringing up the songs because I have no idea if they would have crossed my mind before we were all standing around at M.I.'s funeral, pondering the strangeness about his demise from that horrible, freak Shostakovich ice-sculpture accident.*


* ice-shrapnel - the bane of the Classical music listener
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on April 18, 2016, 02:04:15 AM
Just wondering, are Rachmaninov's songs considered to be of high quality? Which of the Op numbers are the best? (I'm a bit of a sucker for Russian song, but haven't heard any Rachmaninov songs yet).
They are by me. You really ought to hear them all, since you confess to being a sucker for the medium in the first place. The Söderström/Ashkenazy cycle is stunning, but there's also a newish cycle with various singers you might look into. Orfeo will no doubt advocate it soon enough.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 18, 2016, 02:41:43 AM
I've never listened to the романсы systematically, but I've not heard a bad 'un yet  8)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on April 18, 2016, 03:02:50 AM
Just wondering, are Rachmaninov's songs considered to be of high quality? Which of the Op numbers are the best? (I'm a bit of a sucker for Russian song, but haven't heard any Rachmaninov songs yet).

They are of high quality and the 3CD set on Brillaint Classics is a great way to hear them.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on April 18, 2016, 04:03:07 AM
I have the Delphian set, and it's been marvellous. I do like some opuses a little better than others, but all of it's worthwhile. There's a heck of a lot of good stuff in here, very glad I decided to take the plunge.



PS Nice to see North Star has been paying attention!  ;)

PPS The same team is now working on the songs of Medtner.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on April 18, 2016, 04:05:23 AM
Just wondering, are Rachmaninov's songs considered to be of high quality? Which of the Op numbers are the best? (I'm a bit of a sucker for Russian song, but haven't heard any Rachmaninov songs yet).

For some reason I really like Koltso (op. 26 no. 14).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on April 18, 2016, 04:16:39 AM
In terms of opuses, I'm looking through the booklet and trying to remember... I have memories of liking op.4 slightly more than opp.8 and 14.

For the middle opuses it's been a while, all I can really say is that the epic "Fate" op.21/1 is a highlight. A song for bass complete with Beethoven's fate motif.

Op.34 has some very good things in it, and op.38 is unique in that all the songs are for soprano. It's the nearest thing there is to a cycle.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Scion7 on April 18, 2016, 08:12:51 AM
I think Dawn Upshaw did a nice job on Op.38 - been listening to it today.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51zqBcnctbL.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on April 18, 2016, 09:25:49 AM
I have the Delphian set, and it's been marvellous. I do like some opuses a little better than others, but all of it's worthwhile. There's a heck of a lot of good stuff in here, very glad I decided to take the plunge.

PS Nice to see North Star has been paying attention!  ;)
8)

In terms of opuses, I'm looking through the booklet and trying to remember... I have memories of liking op.4 slightly more than opp.8 and 14.

For the middle opuses it's been a while, all I can really say is that the epic "Fate" op.21/1 is a highlight. A song for bass complete with Beethoven's fate motif.

Op.34 has some very good things in it, and op.38 is unique in that all the songs are for soprano. It's the nearest thing there is to a cycle.
Söderström's Op.21/1 is very good, too, although obviously a lower voice gives it a different feel.

https://www.youtube.com/v/L2OmroeblNA     https://www.youtube.com/v/_SzCUJmgCKA
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 18, 2016, 12:28:37 PM
Thanks everyone, I'll plunge into the songs.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Spineur on April 21, 2016, 07:12:35 PM
As an alternative to the excellent Delphian set, I can recommend this CD of Yuri Gorodetski, a bielorussian tenor, winner of the 2012 Montreal competition.  He was only 29 at the time of the recording.  It is a bit of a Rachmaninov/Tchaikovsky song sampler, so if you want the complete works, go for the Delphian set.  But in term of voice, and music understanding, its pretty amazing.  Its a hires album as well distinguished by hires audio.

Here is a youtube sample
https://www.youtube.com/v/kBsO8JgOKvc
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Scion7 on April 22, 2016, 01:35:28 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/_SziRVRlH5GMlppTPxPkc9sVEec=/fit-in/600x593/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-7798393-1448994592-3678.jpeg.jpg) (https://img.discogs.com/MQ36PsbNeWrk0w0wGK7AP-YjHJg=/fit-in/600x591/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-7798393-1448994631-8054.jpeg.jpg)

I originally bought it due to the cover art (Bocklin's Die Toteninsel) but it's a pretty good performance.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Heck148 on April 22, 2016, 03:58:01 AM
Excuse me, but this composer seems to have a total of two or three self-pitying ideas which he recycles relentlessly and endlessly. Why is this papmeister played on classical music stations regularly, even respectable ones? Am I missing something?
Shall I armour myself against flames here?
I agree with you...rach'man'ff is hugely over-rated, and overplayed....there are so many other composers deserving of live concert exposure over this 3rd or 4th stringer....
his works, with a few exceptions, are structurally a mess, grossly over-orchestrated, producing a thick, murky sound that obscures interesting detail...a friend of mine, a violinist, on Rach'y's sym #2:
<<"there are about a million notes in the violin part, and the audience will hear about 2% of them">>
really, same with the woodwind parts
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 04:07:22 AM
I agree with you...rach'man'ff is hugely over-rated, and overplayed....

Heck, great to see you!

. . . but ;) . . . permit me to observe that it is bad form to go to a composer's thread, just to dump on the composer.  Looks additionally bad when you dredge up a six-year-old post to do it, too.

Look forward to hearing more from you, dear fellow!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: johnshade on April 22, 2016, 04:18:49 AM
Piano Concerto No. 2: overrated, underrated, or just a guilty pleasure?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 04:24:12 AM
Piano Concerto No. 2: overrated, underrated, or just a guilty pleasure?

When one loves a piece which is standard rep, it is above questions of overrated or underrated  8)

I liked the piece when I first heard it.  We played the piece when I was at the College of Wooster, and that earlier liking bloomed into a love which has never abated.  It would never occur to me feel anything like "guilt" for taking pleasure in the piece.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Heck148 on April 22, 2016, 04:50:42 AM
Heck, great to see you!

. . . but ;) . . . permit me to observe that it is bad form to go to a composer's thread, just to dump on the composer.  Looks additionally bad when you dredge up a six-year-old post to do it, too.
Hi, Karl - sorry about the bad form, but I've been looking at various threads for awhile, and most of them originated so many years ago, I couldn't read thru 49+ pages of previous postings...it is a real problem getting into the flow...so I finally just took one and jumped in...
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 04:52:12 AM
Hi, Karl - sorry about the bad form, but I've been looking at various threads for awhile, and most of them originated so many years ago, I couldn't read thru 49+ pages of previous postings...it is a real problem getting into the flow...so I finally just took one and jumped in...

No worries, dear chap!  Do make yourself at home!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Heck148 on April 22, 2016, 04:53:24 AM
Piano Concerto No. 2: overrated, underrated, or just a guilty pleasure?
Warsaw Concerto accomplishes the same thing...and it's much shorter!!  :D
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 04:55:26 AM
Now, the Warsaw Concerto would be a guilty pleasure   $:)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Heck148 on April 22, 2016, 04:59:36 AM
Now, the Warsaw Concerto would be a guilty pleasure   $:)

 :laugh: :laugh:
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on April 22, 2016, 05:02:22 AM
Piano Concerto No. 2: overrated, underrated, or just a guilty pleasure?

I'll respond once I get to the relevant section of my 'sectional-chronology-exploration' of Rachmaninov. In a year or so, I'm being very sporadic...

I tend to have the notion, though, that the most famous pieces of Rachmaninov are not necessarily the best. I think his late works are marvellous. I also seem to remember thinking that his 1st Symphony, the one that was wrecked on its premiere, was rather good.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 05:05:27 AM
I tend to have the notion, though, that the most famous pieces of Rachmaninov are not necessarily the best. I think his late works are marvellous. I also seem to remember thinking that his 1st Symphony, the one that was wrecked on its premiere, was rather good.

Recommended:

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on April 22, 2016, 05:08:06 AM
Recommended:



I have Ashkenazy. It will serve.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 05:12:28 AM
I have Ashkenazy. It will serve.

Not that you are obliged to pursue the juvenilia . . . did Ashkenazy record the 1891 symphony movement?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on April 22, 2016, 05:13:48 AM
Not that you are obliged to pursue the juvenilia . . . did Ashkenazy record the 1891 symphony movement?
If I recall correctly, you recently bought the very recording, Karl. ;)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on April 22, 2016, 05:16:18 AM
Not that you are obliged to pursue the juvenilia . . . did Ashkenazy record the 1891 symphony movement?

It's not in the relevant box, no, but I can't say I'm going to go out of my way to acquire it. Given that my greatest Rachmaninov enjoyment seems to come from the latest works.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 05:20:14 AM
If I recall correctly, you recently bought the very recording, Karl. ;)

Hah! Well, we see how diligent I have not yet been about pursuing that box  8)

It's not in the relevant box, no, but I can't say I'm going to go out of my way to acquire it. Given that my greatest Rachmaninov enjoyment seems to come from the latest works.

Well, one finds it gratifying that at least you did like the Opus 13.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Brian on April 22, 2016, 05:20:35 AM
Not that you are obliged to pursue the juvenilia . . . did Ashkenazy record the 1891 symphony movement?
Yes. The original '80s CD release, which I inherited from my grandparents, pairs "Youth Symphony" with No. 3.

EDIT:

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 05:22:42 AM
Yes. The original '80s CD release, which I inherited from my grandparents, pairs "Youth Symphony" with No. 3.

Thanks, to both you & our Karlo!

It's not in the relevant box, no, but I can't say I'm going to go out of my way to acquire it.

Should you be curious, though, orfeo:

http://www.youtube.com/v/UIra1xBRvtk
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on April 22, 2016, 05:48:07 AM
I'm curious alright. The problem is I'm curious about several hundred different things of my own account, and even in the world of Rachmaninov-curiousness there's a dozen works with opus numbers...

...I put it on in the background while taking my contact lenses out and cleaning my teeth. Not bad. But you know me, now you have to sell me a disc that includes it with other pieces that I want.

My response to a disc with the Isle of the Dead on it is that I'm already utterly enthralled by the Isle of the Dead that I own.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 05:49:16 AM
I'm curious alright. The problem is I'm curious about several hundred different things of my own account, and even in the world of Rachmaninov-curiousness there's a dozen works with opus numbers...

...I put it on in the background while taking my contact lenses out and cleaning my teeth. Not bad. But you know me, now you have to sell me a disc that includes it with other pieces that I want.

My response to a disc with the Isle of the Dead on it is that I'm already utterly enthralled by the Isle of the Dead that I own.

All that is fine, to be sure.  I have no vested interest in selling you the disc.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 22, 2016, 05:52:43 AM
Also, to be clear . . .

Should you be curious, though, orfeo:

http://www.youtube.com/v/UIra1xBRvtk

. . . I meant if you wish.  Your musical curiosity is not in question  0:)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2016, 11:04:20 AM
I like The Bells very much and found this highly regarded version going cheap:
But, what interested me is that the CD contained the 'Three Russian Songs' Op.41 from 1927 which I'd never heard before. They are great and the last one is terrific - once heard not forgotten I think. I'm surprised that I never came across this fine work before. I've added a link - if nothing else listen to the final song (from 10:50):

https://youtu.be/Ya4qGDhWjFg


Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 01, 2016, 05:26:50 PM
I like The Bells very much and found this highly regarded version going cheap:
But, what interested me is that the CD contained the 'Three Russian Songs' Op.41 from 1927 which I'd never heard before. They are great and the last one is terrific - once heard not forgotten I think. I'm surprised that I never came across this fine work before. I've added a link - if nothing else listen to the final song (from 10:50):

https://youtu.be/Ya4qGDhWjFg




Rachmaninov's Three Russian Songs is one of my favorites from him. You really should try to hear the Polyansky performance on Chandos. That's the one to own IMHO. Dutoit just sounds superficial in this music. Beautiful surfaces but nothing beyond those surfaces.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2016, 06:38:12 PM
Rachmaninov's Three Russian Songs is one of my favorites from him. You really should try to hear the Polyansky performance on Chandos. That's the one to own IMHO. Dutoit just sounds superficial in this music. Beautiful surfaces but nothing beyond those surfaces.
Thanks John. Actually I looked for the Polyansky but couldn't see it. What is it coupled with? However, I ordered an inexpensive Rozhdestvensky version with the same couplings as the Dutoit, which should be more authentically 'Russian'. Such a great work and surprised that I was unaware of it.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 01, 2016, 06:43:52 PM
Thanks John. Actually I looked for the Polyansky but couldn't see it. What is it coupled with? However, I ordered an inexpensive Rozhdestvensky version with the same couplings as the Dutoit, which should be more authentically 'Russian'. Such a great work and surprised that I was unaware of it.

You're welcome, Jeffrey. Let me know what you think of the Rozhdestvensky once you've listened to it. The Polyansky is coupled with Symphony No. 2 unfortunately and I say unfortunately because this particular performance can't begin to compete with the likes of Rozhdestvensky or Ashkenazy. You can hear the Polyansky in Three Russian Songs here however:

https://www.youtube.com/v/Ya4qGDhWjFg
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2016, 06:47:02 PM
You're welcome, Jeffrey. Let me know what you think of the Rozhdestvensky once you've listened to it. The Polyansky is coupled with Symphony No. 2 unfortunately and I say unfortunately because this particular performance can't begin to compete with the likes of Rozhdestvensky or Ashkenazy. You can hear the Polyansky in Three Russian Songs here however:

https://www.youtube.com/v/Ya4qGDhWjFg
Thanks John. I think that's the one I downloaded in my link - it is indeed excellent and a great discovery for me.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 01, 2016, 06:51:02 PM
Thanks John. I think that's the one I downloaded in my link - it is indeed excellent and a great discovery for me.

Excellent. Glad to hear you enjoyed this performance. Another favorite Rachmaninov work is Spring (Vesna), Op. 20. What do you think of this work, Jeffrey? Again, Polyansky (on Chandos) nails the work, but I really like Kitajenko's performance as well (w/ the Danish National RSO on Chandos).

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2016, 07:01:53 PM
Excellent. Glad to hear you enjoyed this performance. Another favorite Rachmaninov work is Spring (Vesna), Op. 20. What do you think of this work, Jeffrey? Again, Polyansky (on Chandos) nails the work, but I really like Kitajenko's performance as well (w/ the Danish National RSO on Chandos).
You're up late - or maybe I'm up early (ordered to make a cup of tea for my wife   ::))
My favourite works by Rachmaninov are The Bells, Symphony 1 and Isle of the Dead, although I've now added Three Russian Songs to my list. I like 'Spring' too and have versions by Kitajenko (a fine disc) and also Svetlanov who is invariably good in this repertoire. I've found the Polyansky version of Three Russian Songs thanks to you and it is not expensive so I shall have to get it. I have a soft spot for Symphony 2 as it was my mother's favourite work along with PC No.3 in the Ashkenazy/Fistoulari recording.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 01, 2016, 07:20:43 PM
You're up late - or maybe I'm up early (ordered to make a cup of tea for my wife   ::))
My favourite works by Rachmaninov are The Bells, Symphony 1 and Isle of the Dead, although I've now added Three Russian Songs to my list. I like 'Spring' too and have versions by Kitajenko (a fine disc) and also Svetlanov who is invariably good in this repertoire. I've found the Polyansky version of Three Russian Songs thanks to you and it is not expensive so I shall have to get it. I have a soft spot for Symphony 2 as it was my mother's favourite work along with PC No.3 in the Ashkenazy/Fistoulari recording.

Well, it's not too late here as it's 12:17 AM as we speak. :) Love The Bells and Isle of the Dead. Still coming to grips with Symphony No. 1, but really enjoy the work more and more whenever I hear it. If I can refer to my 'Top 5 Favorites' from Rachmaninov, my list is still one I'm happy with:

Three Russian Songs, Op. 41
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27
Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D minor, Op. 9
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2016, 08:21:33 PM
Well, it's not too late here as it's 12:17 AM as we speak. :) Love The Bells and Isle of the Dead. Still coming to grips with Symphony No. 1, but really enjoy the work more and more whenever I hear it. If I can refer to my 'Top 5 Favorites' from Rachmaninov, my list is still one I'm happy with:

Three Russian Songs, Op. 41
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27
Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D minor, Op. 9
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30

The Trio elegiaque is another one that I clearly need to explore!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 02, 2016, 12:38:16 AM
The Trio elegiaque is another one that I clearly need to explore!

Haven't you heard that yet?  Oh, you are in for a treat, Jeffrey.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on September 02, 2016, 02:32:18 AM
Haven't you heard that yet?  Oh, you are in for a treat, Jeffrey.

YES!  And I am quite happy that you are in the Three Russian Songs Club!  The Rach was at his best there, but, to be sure, The Rach was always at his best! 0:)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on September 02, 2016, 02:40:33 AM
Haven't you heard that yet?  Oh, you are in for a treat, Jeffrey.
YES!  And I am quite happy that you are in the Three Russian Songs Club!  The Rach was at his best there, but, to be sure, The Rach was always at his best! 0:)
Hear, hear!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 02, 2016, 02:42:53 AM
You're welcome, Jeffrey. Let me know what you think of the Rozhdestvensky once you've listened to it. The Polyansky is coupled with Symphony No. 2 unfortunately and I say unfortunately because this particular performance can't begin to compete with the likes of Rozhdestvensky or Ashkenazy. You can hear the Polyansky in Three Russian Songs here however:

https://www.youtube.com/v/Ya4qGDhWjFg


Hello, First-Listen Friday!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: zamyrabyrd on September 02, 2016, 04:42:08 AM
You can hear the Polyansky in Three Russian Songs here however:

Very nice, a lot of Russian atmosphere.

ZB
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 02, 2016, 06:59:11 AM
Very nice, a lot of Russian atmosphere.

ZB

I've ordered the CD.  :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on September 02, 2016, 07:32:20 AM
I´ve recently heard live and for the first time the Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos. Excellent work, but then again I have yet to hear a Rach composition that I won´t love instantly.

https://www.youtube.com/v/wYLasmJdeEg

(not the version I´ve heard, but just as good...)


Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on September 02, 2016, 07:33:41 AM
I´ve recently heard live and for the first time the Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos. Excellent work, but then again I have yet to hear a Rach composition that I won´t love instantly.
I share both your feelings.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 02, 2016, 08:06:19 AM
I´ve recently heard live and for the first time the Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos. Excellent work, but then again I have yet to hear a Rach composition that I won´t love instantly.

I share both your feelings.

(* ломать стол *)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 02, 2016, 09:55:49 AM
Haven't you heard that yet?  Oh, you are in for a treat, Jeffrey.
Thank you Karl.  :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 02, 2016, 09:56:43 AM
YES!  And I am quite happy that you are in the Three Russian Songs Club!  The Rach was at his best there, but, to be sure, The Rach was always at his best! 0:)
I agree Leo.  :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on September 03, 2016, 03:00:15 AM
Any opinions on these piano roll recordings?  Some people rave about them: when I have more time later this weekend, I will be investigating them.

e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/v/6hv2zh_Z0Io
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 03, 2016, 06:12:16 AM
Any opinions on these piano roll recordings?  Some people rave about them: when I have more time later this weekend, I will be investigating them.

e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/v/6hv2zh_Z0Io
Don't know them but I have a few 'Rachmaninov conducts Rachmaninov' CDs.

Having just discovered the 'Three Russian Folk Songs' and bought the Dutoit CD I am delighted to discover that I already have a fine historic recording (1951) of the work coupled with 'The Rock' and Symphony 3 performed by The Great Symphony Orchestra and Choir of the All-Union Radio Committee (great name) conducted by the redoubtable Nikolay Golovanov. The recording quality is pretty bad but the performance has a wonderfully authentic atmosphere unlike the polished but perhaps too slick Dutoit version (which I also enjoyed and which introduced me to this great work). The Golovanov has more of a Russian Peasant atmosphere to the choir - which seems just right - like something out of 'War and Peace' or 'Boris Godunov'. In fact when I was very fortunate to attend the rehearsal for a concert of Miaskovsky's 6th Symphony in London conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (who very kindly invited me and my friend up to the podium for a chat with him during a break in the rehearsal) he told the choir that he wanted them to perform the moving choral conclusion like 'Russian peasants':
 

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Spineur on September 03, 2016, 08:50:34 AM
......
But, what interested me is that the CD contained the 'Three Russian Songs' Op.41 from 1927 which I'd never heard before. They are great and the last one is terrific - once heard not forgotten I think. I'm surprised that I never came across this fine work before.....


Rachmaninov composed many beautiful song cycles in addition to the Op 41:
Op4, Op 8, Op14, Op 26, Op 34 and Op 38

I unfortunately have only a sampling of them in the beautiful CD of Yuri Gorodetski, a bielorussian tenor laureate of the Montreal competition.  Some songs of the Op 26 are on one of the recital CD of Anna Netbrenko.  I think that a small boxset with all rachmaninov song was issued at some point, but I dont have it.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on September 03, 2016, 09:16:28 AM
Rachmaninov composed many beautiful song cycles in addition to the Op 41:
Op4, Op 8, Op14, Op 26, Op 34 and Op 38

I unfortunately have only a sampling of them in the beautiful CD of Yuri Gorodetski, a bielorussian tenor laureate of the Montreal competition.  Some songs of the Op 26 are on one of the recital CD of Anna Netbrenko.  I think that a small boxset with all rachmaninov song was issued at some point, but I dont have it.
This splendid set is included in the Decca complete Rakh



There's also this more recent set, highly regarded by Orfeo.

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Spineur on September 03, 2016, 09:37:39 AM
Thank you North Star.  I now remember Orfeo positive comments.  I just ordered it.  I am tired of the bits and pieces.  Pianists and singers do that all the time..
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 03, 2016, 01:20:23 PM



I love these Golovanov performances (and also his Rach2), performances feeling so authentic it's easy to ignore the often atrocious recording quality.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on September 03, 2016, 01:28:24 PM
This is the set I have

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/158/MI0001158547.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

and I´m perfectly happy with it.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on September 03, 2016, 01:53:44 PM
This is the set I have

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/158/MI0001158547.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

and I´m perfectly happy with it.

Me too and me too!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on September 03, 2016, 06:32:59 PM
This thread has sprung to life and is being very useful!

Spring is the very next thing on my list to listen to, so now I have some idea of which performances to try. And the op.41 songs have long been on my "to-do list", simply because they are the only late, post-Russian Rachmaninov I don't know.

And I adore post-Russian Rachmaninov more than any other. He only wrote half a dozen works over the space of a couple of decades, but they're some of his best.

Thank you North Star.  I now remember Orfeo positive comments.  I just ordered it.  I am tired of the bits and pieces.  Pianists and singers do that all the time..

I'm now very nervous... I hope you like it!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 03, 2016, 07:11:01 PM
I love these Golovanov performances (and also his Rach2), performances feeling so authentic it's easy to ignore the often atrocious recording quality.

Sarge

Me too Sarge and I have No.2 also - must play it later (wish he'd recorded Symphony 1). I love the way Golovanov slows right down at the very end of Symphony 3. I only wish he'd recorded Symphony 6 by Miaskovsky as he conducted the evidently very moving premiere performance with the composer in attendance.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on September 05, 2016, 04:23:19 AM
I'm on a bit of a roll with Symphony 3 at the moment. I very much enjoy this set, available incredibly cheaply on Amazon UK/US. The only drawback being that Symphony 1 is spread over two discs:

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: GrahameInnes on February 20, 2017, 06:37:59 AM
When you become able to compose technically superior music to Rachmaninov without repeating yourself, only then will you have any legitimate grounds for criticism of him.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on February 21, 2017, 06:47:04 PM
Right, shut the forum.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 21, 2017, 07:13:16 PM
When you become able to compose technically superior music to Rachmaninov without repeating yourself, only then will you have any legitimate grounds for criticism of him.

Ummm...no. I can criticize any work I please if I have genuine concerns about it and feel the need to express such a criticism.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Monsieur Croche on February 21, 2017, 08:38:25 PM
When you become able to compose technically superior music to Rachmaninov without repeating yourself, only then will you have any legitimate grounds for criticism of him.

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on February 22, 2017, 12:58:57 AM
True story: I can barely play tennis. I enjoy watching tennis. I once helped a friend's tennis serve when it was failing by observing and making a suggestion based on what I'd learned just from watching tennis. Her ball-toss was too high. She went from mostly double faults to blasting aces past the opposing team.

It is simply not true that you can only comment on things you can personally do yourself. QED.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: alkan on February 22, 2017, 04:03:10 AM
Despite all its "formal" faults, I really love Rachmaninov's First symphony.     It is full of wonderful effects and magical moments.

A long time ago (in the 70's I think), there was a TV series in the UK about the events leading up to the First World War.     The tragic apotheosis that closes the finale was used as the credits rolled at the end of each episode.    It made a tremendous impression of anguish, foreboding and impending doom as events in Europe gradually got out of control and headed towards the cataclysm.      A whole civilisation about to be destroyed .....    I can't hear the finale without thinking of this image ...   

I have never been able to track down the TV series.    If anyone knows, please post a message.   Thank you.

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 22, 2017, 04:29:27 AM
Despite all its "formal" faults, I really love Rachmaninov's First symphony.  It is full of wonderful effects and magical moments.

I think your use of scare-quotes aligns with this, but I am inclined to consider that “faults” are found in the Rakhmaninov symphonies (or, e.g., in the great Tchaikovsky symphonies, or in the mature Dvořák symphonies) only through a misguided application of admiration for the Beethoven symphonies, viz., feeling that the Beethoven symphonies are “perfect” (in itself, no error), and proceeding then to judge the value of symphonies afterwards, according to the degree that they match the Beethovenian model.

The bitter irony there, of course, is that we admire Beethoven for refusing to conform to established models.  It therefore is a repudiation of Beethoven’s artistry, to set his cycle up as the model to which later composers need to conform.

Either that, or we agree that Beethoven was a grand failure, because he was incapable of hewing true to Haydn’s undeniable perfection.  Though a failure, indeed grand because of the many wonderful effects and magical moments   ;)

I should go back to the score of the Rakhmaninov Op.13, but — and pace a number of my colleagues who only endorse the piece with the cuts, fergoshsake — I do not remember finding anything like fault in its composition.

Parenthetically (call this just the way I look at the art), if the composition is flawed, neither wonderful effects nor magical moments (how numerous soever) would redeem the composition for me.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on February 22, 2017, 04:57:45 AM
It strikes me as a thoroughly Russian symphony. Not conforming to a Germanic model is not a fault unless one was trying to conform to that model.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: BasilValentine on February 22, 2017, 02:24:03 PM
The Rachmaninoff (the only correct spelling since it was his chosen transliteration for the English speaking world) First Symphony is one of the most systematically integrated cycles of its era. The three themes introduced in the first movement are the basis for nearly everything. The motto (vengeance motive) appears throughout. The principal theme is the basis of the scherzo, the second theme is the source of the slow movement, and all three themes are reintegrated in the finale. His formal model for the first movement was middle period Beethoven filtered through Tchaikovsky.

The whole thing seems to have Anna Karenina as an underlying program, hence the epigram borrowed from Tolstoy's novel ("Vengeance is mine and I will repay, thus saith the Lord" (Romans 12)). Rachmaninoff had actually met Tolstoy in his student days. The second theme of the first movement seems to be Anna's theme, the pervasive augmented 2nds possibly due to the composer making a composite of Tolstoy's Anna and the married gypsy woman with whom he had recently had a disastrous affair. The symphony's denouement has the Anna theme dragged down into the depths and blasted by hell's trumpets, the finale revenge forecast by the epigram. Very droll.

Anyway, programmatic silliness aside, the work is beautifully structured. I have always liked it a lot, despite the bad orchestration.   
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on February 22, 2017, 02:25:57 PM
Despite all its "formal" faults, I really love Rachmaninov's First symphony.     It is full of wonderful effects and magical moments.

A long time ago (in the 70's I think), there was a TV series in the UK about the events leading up to the First World War.     The tragic apotheosis that closes the finale was used as the credits rolled at the end of each episode.    It made a tremendous impression of anguish, foreboding and impending doom as events in Europe gradually got out of control and headed towards the cataclysm.      A whole civilisation about to be destroyed .....    I can't hear the finale without thinking of this image ...   

I have never been able to track down the TV series.    If anyone knows, please post a message.   Thank you.
Not sure about that as the fine old TV series 'The Great War' had theme music by Wilfred Josephs although the programmes used music including Bax's 'Tintagel' and Vaughan Williams's 'Sinfonia Antartica'. However the old TV current events programme 'Panorama' in the 1960s did use Rachmaninov's First Symphony (opening of the finale) as its theme music:
https://youtu.be/oF6VBqjhCjw
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: BasilValentine on February 22, 2017, 02:36:34 PM
Not sure about that as the fine old TV series 'The Great War' had theme music by Wilfred Josephs although the programmes used music including Bax's 'Tintagel' and Vaughan Williams's 'Sinfonia Antartica'. However the old TV current events programme 'Panorama' in the 1960s did use Rachmaninov's First Symphony (opening of the finale) as its theme music:
https://youtu.be/oF6VBqjhCjw

The big fanfare version of i/1 in the finale is used in a Monty Python episode, I forget which one off hand.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: alkan on February 24, 2017, 02:21:39 PM
Not sure about that as the fine old TV series 'The Great War' had theme music by Wilfred Josephs although the programmes used music including Bax's 'Tintagel' and Vaughan Williams's 'Sinfonia Antartica'. However the old TV current events programme 'Panorama' in the 1960s did use Rachmaninov's First Symphony (opening of the finale) as its theme music:
https://youtu.be/oF6VBqjhCjw
Oh yes !!!!   I had quite forgotten about that.

What a fanfare!!   One of the best I know.     The 4th movement of Rachmaninov's first symphony has truly a memorable beginning and ending ....   and many of the bits in the middle are pretty good too!

The WW1 program that I am thinking of is not "The Great War".     The title is something like "Decline of Civilization"     I suspect that it was ITV and not BBC, but I could be wrong.

Thanks for the memory ....
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: snyprrr on February 24, 2017, 04:47:05 PM
Nixon's favorite Composer ;)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on February 25, 2017, 01:12:18 AM
Nixon's favorite Composer ;)
And my mum's too.  :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on February 25, 2017, 01:15:02 AM
Oh yes !!!!   I had quite forgotten about that.

What a fanfare!!   One of the best I know.     The 4th movement of Rachmaninov's first symphony has truly a memorable beginning and ending ....   and many of the bits in the middle are pretty good too!

The WW1 program that I am thinking of is not "The Great War".     The title is something like "Decline of Civilization"     I suspect that it was ITV and not BBC, but I could be wrong.

Thanks for the memory ....
My pleasure - I don't know that programme - sounds interesting. Could be relevant now!  8)
From my teenage years I remember a great TV series called 'Stalin, the Red Tsar' that used great background music by Russian and Soviet composers - Miaskovsky's 17th Symphony for example if my memory serves me well.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: SonicMan46 on March 27, 2017, 10:38:29 AM
Vespers - New Releases and Favorites?

Now, I do own a lot of RACH's music, but I'm surprised that my name is not in this thread, and that I've not done much listening to his recordings in the last few years - BUT, after a superlative review (attached) of a 1986 re-issue w/ Valeri Polyansky & the USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir - a first listening was impressive (love those Russian basses) - the two other recordings in my collection are shown below.

The reviewer in the attached file seems to be a bass himself and knows virtually every performance of the Vespers - his 2 favorites are the one w/ Polyansky under discussion and an older analog recording from 1965 w/ Alexander Sveshnikov & the USSR Russian Chorus - SO, should I search out yet another offering of this work, such as the last mentioned or be happy w/ the 3 versions that I own presently?  Thanks for any comments - Dave :)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51smaDXM9dL.jpg)  (https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/i-Wg5V6Wt/0/O/Rachmaninov_Vigil.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71spqYZBnSL._SL1200_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Drasko on March 28, 2017, 04:03:16 AM
The reviewer in the attached file seems to be a bass himself and knows virtually every performance of the Vespers - his 2 favorites are the one w/ Polyansky under discussion and an older analog recording from 1965 w/ Alexander Sveshnikov & the USSR Russian Chorus - SO, should I search out yet another offering of this work, such as the last mentioned or be happy w/ the 3 versions that I own presently?  Thanks for any comments - Dave :)

In short, yes. I'd certainly recommend the Sveshnikov recording, if you can find it.

Sveshnikov was the first ever recording of the piece and in many aspects still the benchmark. There are downsides obviously, soviet mid 60s sound is not the state of the art, the choir itself sounds rather large and doesn't really blend as today's choirs, nor they always pitch perfect and precise as modern polished chamber choirs but ... their fervency and belief, sheer tonal weight, the deepness of the basses, quality of soloists ... for me are still unmatched 50 years on.

Here are couple of excerpts from the Sveshnikov recording:
https://www.youtube.com/v/ZtEKmYRwXQY
Nunc dimittis - starts with wonderfully impassioned tenor solo of Konstantin Ognevoy and ends with most magnificent basses I've ever heard in my life.

https://www.youtube.com/v/a7GLm6VRe7k
Blessed is the Man - Alexander Sveshnikov seems to have been very hands-on, he molds and shapes the phrases far more than most of today's conductors, listen for instance to hallelujahs toward the end of the movement, also the intensity of that climax is pretty much unmatched.

The only problem is that it constantly goes in and out of print and the latest Melodiya release seems to be out of print. That's this one:
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51G4QYWhDsL.jpg)

There are also various Russian pirate or semi-pirate releases of unknown quality, there is the old Chant du Monde release with three movements missing, Melodiya LPs if you have the turntable ...
   
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on April 01, 2017, 08:50:30 AM
I am absolutely enthralled by "Prince Rostislav". Very bold harmonies. And to think that he wasn't even twenty years old when he composed this absolutely mesmerizing work. If it weren't for "The Rock", I think this would have been my favorite symphonic poem from him.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on May 02, 2017, 03:03:46 AM
A friend of mine heard Edo de Waart conduct the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in the Third Symphony.  This is his report:

Quote
...De Waart's interpretation of Rachmaninoff's 3rd Symphony was inspired. Every recording I have heard before has the finale race to the end, which I had assumed to be the composer symbolizing Europe's lemming-like rush off the cliff before WW II. In the final bars, de Waart had the brass slow way down, providing a ballast to the proletarian rush to self immolation of the 1930's and 40's. Brilliant!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 02, 2017, 05:17:06 AM
Sweet!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 02, 2017, 06:37:35 AM
A friend of mine heard Edo de Waart conduct the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in the Third Symphony.  This is his report:

I would've liked to hear this performance. I tend to not enjoy the 3rd's ending to feel rushed as well. Thanks for sharing, Cato.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: zamyrabyrd on May 02, 2017, 06:58:16 AM
Nixon's favorite Composer ;)

How interesting!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) Edo de Waart
Post by: Cato on May 02, 2017, 09:22:53 AM
I checked for a YouTube performance of the Third Symphony with Edo de Waart, and somebody placed only 2 minutes of the opening from a Sydney Symphony performance in Australia! ???

Otherwise, there is a vinyl LP set available on Amazon, probably from the early 70's.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) Olga Kern: Third Concerto
Post by: Cato on May 02, 2017, 12:15:00 PM
I came across this performance by Olga Kern 16 years ago at the Van Cliburn Competition. 

https://www.youtube.com/v/AapjpeqmviM&list=RDAapjpeqmviM#t=82
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) Edo de Waart
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 02, 2017, 12:36:24 PM
I checked for a YouTube performance of the Third Symphony with Edo de Waart, and somebody placed only 2 minutes of the opening from a Sydney Symphony performance in Australia! ???

Otherwise, there is a vinyl LP set available on Amazon, probably from the early 70's.

Found this on Apple Music, and he does slow the ending of the 3rd way down. So this particular performance is available to stream, and only checked Amazon but so far all I see are hefty price tags for these discs   ???  8)

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 30, 2018, 09:29:55 PM
*time to bump this thread*


I've become quite obsessed with the 24 Preludes lately and have been mostly listening to the two recordings below (especially the Lympany one which I adore - I must have a crush on vintage sound). Which recordings do you seek out when the Preludes call your soul?

(https://images.eil.com/large_image/VLADIMIR_ASHKENAZY_RACHMANINOV%3A%2B24%2BPRELUDES-526151.jpg)(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/28948262670.jpg?1499772942)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 30, 2018, 10:08:09 PM
Check out Tatiana Nikolayeva playing Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp minor (1985)!!    0:)

https://www.youtube.com/v/2TQs7Ru2rRw
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 30, 2018, 10:19:26 PM
Quote
I've become quite obsessed with the 24 Preludes lately and have been mostly listening to the two recordings below (especially the Lympany one which I adore - I must have a crush on vintage sound). Which recordings do you seek out when the Preludes call your soul?

(https://images.eil.com/large_image/VLADIMIR_ASHKENAZY_RACHMANINOV%3A%2B24%2BPRELUDES-526151.jpg)(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/28948262670.jpg?1499772942)

I wonder if that Ashkenazy is the same recording as here, which I have and generally enjoy (without anything to compare it to).

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61hV8yfvxmL.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 30, 2018, 10:30:50 PM
I wonder if that Ashkenazy is the same recording as here, which I have and generally enjoy (without anything to compare it to).

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61hV8yfvxmL.jpg)

Hmm, Decca has certainly repackaged Ashkenazy a fair amount. The one I posted is the 1974-75 recording.  I have no idea how many times Ashkenazy has recorded the Preludes, but I have a feeling of that it is the same recording with a nicer cover!  :)  ( I like composers or art on the sleeves - silly me). Do you have a recording date?  :-\

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on May 31, 2018, 02:36:13 AM
I have this box



The Preludes are 1974-5 recordings.

It's well known by now that I don't tend to go seeking alternate versions of works, but that's even more the case with Ashkenazy's Rachmaninov which appears to be one of those things that is pretty well universally praised.  The last CD in the box, which has the op.39 Etudes-Tableaux and the 2-piano version of the Symphonic Dances, is one of my favourite classical discs.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 05:57:14 AM
I have this box



The Preludes are 1974-5 recordings.

It's well known by now that I don't tend to go seeking alternate versions of works, but that's even more the case with Ashkenazy's Rachmaninoff which appears to be one of those things that is pretty well universally praised.  The last CD in the box, which has the op.39 Etudes-Tableaux and the 2-piano version of the Symphonic Dances, is one of my favourite classical discs.

Ashkenazy seemingly gained quite a reputation with his 1974-75 recording of Rachmaninoff's Preludes! Jed Distler in Classics Today states "it’s one of the finest recordings in this pianist’s immense discography."    0:)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 07:36:08 AM
I would like to hear Waart's recordings of the symphonies....   OOP      :'(

(https://img.discogs.com/nz-O4pYvaz-YVEhYwy2iL1oguB8=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-7902890-1491118609-5835.jpeg.jpg)

EDIT:
However, there is this compilation...   0:)

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 31, 2018, 07:43:48 AM
Hmm, Decca has certainly repackaged Ashkenazy a fair amount. The one I posted is the 1974-75 recording.  I have no idea how many times Ashkenazy has recorded the Preludes, but I have a feeling of that it is the same recording with a nicer cover!  :)  ( I like composers or art on the sleeves - silly me). Do you have a recording date?  :-\

Same, the box was an early CD issue (as you can tell from the number if you are a Decca fan). It is a compilation of Preludes from '76 and the Sonata from '80. I don't remember being blown away by it, but I don't think I have listened to it since the 90's. Need to give it a spin.

It seems like Ashkenazy's star has fallen as a pianist. He recorded almost everything imaginable for Decca, but I don't seem much mention of him here. (Ironically, he seems more popular as a conductor.)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on May 31, 2018, 08:13:27 AM



A very fine set! It served as my introduction to the Rachmaninoff symphonies.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 08:28:20 AM
A very fine set! It served as my introduction to the Rachmaninoff symphonies.

I was excited to find the "budget" version! Looking forward to hearing Waart's renditions!  :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 08:31:33 AM
Same, the box was an early CD issue (as you can tell from the number if you are a Decca fan). It is a compilation of Preludes from '76 and the Sonata from '80. I don't remember being blown away by it, but I don't think I have listened to it since the 90's. Need to give it a spin.

It seems like Ashkenazy's star has fallen as a pianist. He recorded almost everything imaginable for Decca, but I don't seem much mention of him here. (Ironically, he seems more popular as a conductor.)

True, Ashkenazy has had an interesting career. I'm impressed with his discography - hundreds of recordings  ???  - but definitely more in the realm as a conductor at this point. I actually like his early solo piano recordings quite a bit apart from that the sound occasionally is a bit metallic. Somehow I associate his name with Rachmaninoff.  The recording of the Preludes seems to have been his claim to fame, but I have memories of accolades in regards to his Chopin and Beethoven as well.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 08:34:22 AM
Ok, I'm making this a Rachmaninoff day - a personal music festival!

Rachmaninoff: The Bells [Kolokola]
Troitskaya/Karczykowski/Krause
Chorus of the Concertgebouw Orchestra
Concertgebouw Orchestra
Ashkenazy


First time  :-[  - this is a great piece! Very!  Hmm, perhaps I will take a greater interest in Russian vocal music in the immediate future....   :)
It almost seems like a continuation of the tone poem 'Isle of the Dead' in an odd way. It has a similar mesmerizing rhythmic undertone that reverberates in the background. The voices bring a human template superimposed on the rhythm. Chaotic at times, but powerful. I like this quite a bit.
Hmm, now I need to dig up the texts so I know what they are singing.......

Any other excellent versions of 'The Bells' I should be aware of? Beloved performances?  I feel the strong urge to compare (I think that is a GMG trait)!

(https://img.discogs.com/KG0RRyz0q8v_XA2k1yOj6A4oasU=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3415140-1468355421-5693.jpeg.jpg)(http://www.deccaclassics.com/imgs/s300x300/4786765.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 31, 2018, 09:00:48 AM
True, Ashkenazy has had an interesting career. I'm impressed with his discography - hundreds of recordings  ???  - but definitely more in the realm as a conductor at this point. I actually like his early solo piano recordings quite a bit apart from that the sound occasionally is a bit metallic. Somehow I associate his name with Rachmaninov.  The recording of the Preludes seems to have been his claim to fame, but I have memories of accolades in regards to his Chopin and Beethoven as well.

I have nothing close to his full discography, but I find his Chopin almost universally outstanding. But I don't know his Beethoven (I seem to recall the Piano Sonatas not being reviewed well). His Bach, I didn't like much. I like his Scriabin Sonatas, and the Rachmaninoff.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 09:09:02 AM
I have nothing close to his full discography, but I find his Chopin almost universally outstanding. But I don't know his Beethoven (I seem to recall the Piano Sonatas not being reviewed well). His Bach, I didn't like much. I like his Scriabin Sonatas, and the Rachmaninoff.

I think it would be a feat to own his discography!!!  ???  Also, I don't think we want to go there. Better to accumulate the morsels and thoroughly enjoy them. Decca has published at least three mega compilations over the last five years (>50 cds in each box) so they are certainly pushing their Ashkenazy archive!!!
Hmm, I listened to Ashkenazy's recording of Bach's WTC the other day and I have to agree with you. It is good, but it doesn't stand out at all. A bit on the side of skilled and mechanical, but lacking the poetry. Besides, there is plenty of competition in the realm of the WTC. However, that is also true for Chopin. Perhaps a certain kind of temperament and skill are required with Bach?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 09:14:16 AM
How do you folks like Mariss Jansons' Rachmaninoff recordings?   :-\
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 31, 2018, 09:16:01 AM
Hmm, I listened to Ashkenazy's recording of Bach's WTC the other day and I have to agree with you. It is good, but it doesn't stand out at all. A bit on the side of skilled and mechanical, but lacking the poetry. Besides, there is plenty of competition in the realm of the WTC. However, that is also true for Chopin. Perhaps a certain kind of temperament and skill are required with Bach?

In Bach I found his touch rather monotonous. I'd say he doesn't have the knack of varying articulation and differentiating voices with differences in articulation. He's in his element in 19th and 20th century piano music.

I sort of liked his playing in the Mozart Concerti, but I didn't think he handled the orchestra well - not enough snap.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 31, 2018, 09:16:47 AM
How do you folks like Mariss Jansons' Rachmaninov recordings?   :-\

The Russian orchestra gave it a certain flavor. No one seems to mention the Previn recordings, which are also fine.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 09:19:56 AM
In Bach I found his touch rather monotonous. I'd say he doesn't have the knack of varying articulation and differentiating voices with differences in articulation. He's in his element in 19th and 20th century piano music.

I sort of liked his playing in the Mozart Concerti, but I didn't think he handled the orchestra well - not enough snap.

I suspect this is why his recordings aren't prominent in the posts here at GMG? Well, I really, really like his Rachmaninoff Preludes. You have inspired me to revisit his Chopin one of these months. Today my mind is stuck in the Russian realm... :P
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 31, 2018, 09:23:23 AM
His Nocturnes are especially good (Arrau is still my favorite) and Ballades.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 09:26:18 AM
Rachmaninoff: Cello Sonata Op. 19                  Knushevitsky/Oborin

An older recording from 1962 with a tiny bit of vintage Russian sound (still fine though).  The sonata is a bit chaotic in my ears, but the slower inner movements are both intricate and charming. Not exactly my thing, but it grew on me as it progressed. Any fans of the cello sonata here?

from
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51WlUusvLuL.jpg)https://www.youtube.com/v/eXegtTwDDys
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on May 31, 2018, 09:55:00 AM
How do you folks like Mariss Jansons' Rachmaninov recordings?   :-\

His set of the concertos with Rudy is absolutely superb, in sound and performance!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 10:05:55 AM
His set of the concertos with Rudy is absolutely superb, in sound and performance!

I have to check them out - I tend to gravitate towards Ashkenazy as well as Rachmaninoff himself in the PCs. Thanks for the recommendation!  8)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 10:09:46 AM
I listened to this recording just the other day and found it very inviting - actually it triggered my current interest in revisiting Rachmaninoff as a composer. Svetlanov brings out interesting qualities - there is a different energy, pace and engagement in the work. Alternatively, it could just be my imagination? The Russians play their brass with gusto!  :P   Go Svetlanov!

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2             
USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Svetlanov


Excellent!!!! With solid Russian brass!

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41xGuSI4jML.jpg)(https://www.europadisc.co.uk/images/products-190/1455994201_SC501.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 11:02:32 AM
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3
Concertgebouw Orchestra
Ashkenazy


I feel that I have to listen to the symphonies several times to get a sense of them - I guess this is the realm of the 20th century! It is interesting how "The Bells" has much more character than this particular symphony. Reading over the thread I sense that GMG prefers the more unusual works over the symphonies, the PCs as well as the solo piano works (the preludes are not discussed much - interesting). I know that there is another thread devoted to the preludes, but it seems as if the composer thread should have had a chunk of that action as well. Perhaps we as listeners have been overexposed to the PCs and the more "famous" works?

(https://img.discogs.com/45F0phUpQ7tVcewE6LYEBz41aPA=/fit-in/600x598/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-2071028-1262319446.jpeg.jpg)(http://www.deccaclassics.com/imgs/s300x300/4786765.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 11:15:42 AM
I absorbed two recordings of the tone poem 'Island of the Dead' today (so far  >:D). I do have very fond memories of this work. It seems to catch the imagination and is a great gateway to Rachmaninoff. I think I probably would recommend it as a first choice if anybody ever asked me to recommend any orchestral works by him. The title itself is alluring. Are we fooled by titles? I certainly am drawn to tone poems by default.  Anyways, I feel as if de Waart has an edge over Jansons's recording, but they were both very good. I have a Maazel as well as an Ashkenazy recording somewhere that I need to dig up.
Any knock your socks off versions I should listen to? Recommendations for "Isle of the Dead"?

Rachmaninoff: Isle of the Dead
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Edo de Waart


(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/98/9b/c2/989bc219ef06e69531bad2a68e5a06c4.jpg)(http://www.deccaclassics.com/imgs/s300x300/4786765.jpg)

Rachmaninoff: Isle of the Dead
St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Mariss Jansons


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Fr0nK4HtL._SY355_.jpg)(https://forums.artrage.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64975&d=1331336793)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 11:37:25 AM
Going backwards chronologically in the symphonies and turning to Symphony No. 1. Now - this is very good!  I am much more drawn to Symphony No.1 than Nos. 2 & 3. It has slower, thoughtful and brooding passages that resonate well with me. It is surprising to learn that this was a disaster for Rachmaninov when it premiered.  Did the audience expect something more "modern", i.e. Prokofiev style?

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1
St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Mariss Jansons


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Fr0nK4HtL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mahlerian on May 31, 2018, 12:08:11 PM
Going backwards chronologically in the symphonies and turning to Symphony No. 1. Now - this is very good!  I am much more drawn to Symphony No.1 than Nos. 2 & 3. It has slower, thoughtful and brooding passages that resonate well with me. It is surprising to learn that this was a disaster for Rachmaninov when it premiered.  Did the audience expect something more "modern", i.e. Prokofiev style?


According to at least one critic, the work was too modern (dissonant, tortuous).  But the bad performance was likely at fault.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: aukhawk on May 31, 2018, 01:22:27 PM
Reading over the thread I sense that GMG prefers the more unusual works over the symphonies, the PCs as well as the solo piano works ...

I think you can stop right there.  There is definitely a GMG culture that celebrates the paths less well travelled.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on May 31, 2018, 02:59:42 PM
Going backwards chronologically in the symphonies and turning to Symphony No. 1. Now - this is very good!  I am much more drawn to Symphony No.1 than Nos. 2 & 3. It has slower, thoughtful and brooding passages that resonate well with me. It is surprising to learn that this was a disaster for Rachmaninov when it premiered.  Did the audience expect something more "modern", i.e. Prokofiev style?

As much as I like Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Symphony (and, to a lesser degree, the 3rd), I think the 1st may very well be the finest of the three. Instead of the expansive romantic swooning of the 2nd (which is lovely!), we get a tightly knit, powerful score that feels truly “symphonic”. The finale is particularly riveting, with its rhythmic, martial undertones and doom-laden ending which almost seems to prefigure Shostakovich.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on May 31, 2018, 03:06:16 PM
Any fans of the cello sonata here?

Me! Although it, as a whole, may not be one of Rachmaninoff’s finest works, the slow movement is one of the most gorgeous things he ever composed. Ditto the second subject of the finale. As a cellist, I gotta say that Rachmaninoff’s writing for cello isn’t exactly the most rewarding to play - the few virtuosic sections are quite awkward and hard to make cut through the dense (but masterful!) piano texture. The more lyrical sections are much more successful balance-wise.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: BasilValentine on May 31, 2018, 03:15:49 PM
Going backwards chronologically in the symphonies and turning to Symphony No. 1. Now - this is very good!  I am much more drawn to Symphony No.1 than Nos. 2 & 3. It has slower, thoughtful and brooding passages that resonate well with me. It is surprising to learn that this was a disaster for Rachmaninov when it premiered.  Did the audience expect something more "modern", i.e. Prokofiev style?

Rachmaninoff (that's his choice of transliteration and the only one that should be used) declared it a disaster before anyone else did and subsequently destroyed the score. It was reconstructed after the composer's death from a set of parts in the Petersburg Conservatory library (if memory serves). The performance was in the 19thc when Prokofiev was six. The work, by a Moscow boy, was under-rehearsed and poorly understood and conducted before a Petersburg audience, so there was partisanship to start. The reviews, especially that of Caesar Cui, were bad. One of the major problems at the premiere was likely the orchestration, which is dense, has too much doubling, and is marred by poor horn writing with lots of low blats. I imagine special care has to be taken with balance to get any clarity at all, and that would have required a conductor who cared and who took the necessary rehearsal time. Neither was the case. 

Oh, it should be noted that Rachmaninoff's First Symphony was quasi-programmatic and based on Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which is why he used the same epigram on his title page as Tolstoy had: Vengeance is mine and I will repay. As a student Rachmaninoff had actually met Tolstoy.


I feel that I have to listen to the symphonies several times to get a sense of them - I guess this is the realm of the 20th century! It is interesting how "The Bells" has much more character than this particular symphony. Reading over the thread I sense that GMG prefers the more unusual works over the symphonies, the PCs as well as the solo piano works (the preludes are not discussed much - interesting). I know that there is another thread devoted to the preludes, but it seems as if the composer thread should have had a chunk of that action as well. Perhaps we as listeners have been overexposed to the PCs and the more "famous" works?

The solo piano music is excellent, especially the two sets of Etudes Tableaux. The Op. 39 set was the last work he published in Russia (1916) and, in a sense, marked the end of his first career as a composer. The few later opuses are largely unconnected to his Russian works. In Op. 39, as well as the songs Op 38, Rachmaninoff was expanding his harmonic language and dissonance treatment in new directions. One must wonder how far he would have taken it had he not become a full-time touring virtuoso for the rest of his life. In any case, the preludes, etudes, and late songs are essential for anyone who wants to know his best work. 

Here is an excellent live performance of Op. 39, which is by far my favorite Rachmaninoff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fF6lEpz_po
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: relm1 on May 31, 2018, 03:22:30 PM
I listened to this recording just the other day and found it very inviting - actually it triggered my current interest in revisiting Rachmaninov as a composer. Svetlanov brings out interesting qualities - there is a different energy, pace and engagement in the work. Alternatively, it could just be my imagination? The Russians play their brass with gusto!  :P   Go Svetlanov!

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2             
USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Svetlanov


Excellent!!!! With solid Russian brass!

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41xGuSI4jML.jpg)(https://www.europadisc.co.uk/images/products-190/1455994201_SC501.jpg)

I'm a brass player and freaking hate soviet brass.  That is the sound to avoid.  It reeks of cheap brass.  Perhaps you mean Soviet era conductors who go for the gusto regardless of the quality of their performers?  That I would agree with you on.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on May 31, 2018, 04:10:55 PM
The one thing I do miss in the First Symphony is a signature Rachmaninoffian heart-on-sleeve slow movement. The slow movement of the First (though fine) is quite reserved by Rachmaninoffian standards, especially when compared to the lush ecstasy of the comparative movement of the Second Symphony.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: BasilValentine on May 31, 2018, 06:21:07 PM
The one thing I do miss in the First Symphony is a signature Rachmaninoffian heart-on-sleeve slow movement. The slow movement of the First (though fine) is quite reserved by Rachmaninoffian standards, especially when compared to the lush ecstasy of the comparative movement of the Second Symphony.

That likely is a result of the tight thematic unity. The slow movement is based almost entirely on the second theme of the first movement, just as the scherzo elaborates its first theme; And that second theme, with its exotic augmented 2nds, got as emotive as it was going to in its first movement incarnation. In the finale all of the first movement's themes are reintegrated and transformed anew — with a different, tragic, outcome. Rachmaninoff's First is arguably among the most systematically organized symphonies of any era with respect to its thematic processes. 
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 31, 2018, 07:01:28 PM
The one thing I do miss in the First Symphony is a signature Rachmaninoffian heart-on-sleeve slow movement. The slow movement of the First (though fine) is quite reserved by Rachmaninoffian standards, especially when compared to the lush ecstasy of the comparative movement of the Second Symphony.

I can only nod my head along with you, Kyle. The first symphony from Rachmaninov has been a work that I’ve never quite warmed to.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 08:52:01 PM
I think you can stop right there.  There is definitely a GMG culture that celebrates the paths less well travelled.

Meaning...?   One shouldn't celebrate the more worn paths?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 08:56:20 PM
I'm a brass player and freaking hate soviet brass.  That is the sound to avoid.  It reeks of cheap brass.  Perhaps you mean Soviet era conductors who go for the gusto regardless of the quality of their performers?  That I would agree with you on.

Ha ha! Since I don't play brass I cannot quite relate, but I hear you.  Kind of like a tortured version of brass? Hmm, you are right - it is not the sound (i.e. the perfection of the brass that I presume one strives towards as a musician), but rather the blatant energy. The brass section comes across a raving army advancing on a battlefield rather than being parts of an orchestra. I presume that is a sensation one only wants to conjure once in a while under regular circumstances, but Svetlanov seems to bring it forward on a continuous basis.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 08:57:49 PM
Rachmaninoff (that's his choice of transliteration and the only one that should be used) declared it a disaster before anyone else did and subsequently destroyed the score. It was reconstructed after the composer's death from a set of parts in the Petersburg Conservatory library (if memory serves). The performance was in the 19thc when Prokofiev was six. The work, by a Moscow boy, was under-rehearsed and poorly understood and conducted before a Petersburg audience, so there was partisanship to start. The reviews, especially that of Caesar Cui, were bad. One of the major problems at the premiere was likely the orchestration, which is dense, has too much doubling, and is marred by poor horn writing with lots of low blats. I imagine special care has to be taken with balance to get any clarity at all, and that would have required a conductor who cared and who took the necessary rehearsal time. Neither was the case. 

Oh, it should be noted that Rachmaninoff's First Symphony was quasi-programmatic and based on Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which is why he used the same epigram on his title page as Tolstoy had: Vengeance is mine and I will repay. As a student Rachmaninoff had actually met Tolstoy.

- I read the following in Wiki in regards to Symphony No. 1: "The piece was brutally panned by critic and nationalist composer César Cui, who likened it to a depiction of the ten plagues of Egypt, suggesting it would be admired by the "inmates" of a music conservatory in Hell."

Yikes!

- Re: Rachmaninoff vs Rachmaninov - So Rachmaninoff is the established transliteration at this point?  Most of the recordings say Rachmaninov. Just a shift in the standards of transliteration since that point in time or a poor transliteration transmitted by the media? It seems like there is a number of spellings circulating. I see that this topic has generated a fair amount of conversation in the past...
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,8119.0.html

- Thanks for all the interesting details about the first performance of Rachmaninoff's first symphony. In the listening thread North Star linked to another source of information in regards to the conductor Glazunov. Based on rumors it seemed as if he was in poor shape. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._1_(Rachmaninoff)#First_performance

" Though Glazunov loved to conduct, he never totally mastered the craft,despite Rimsky-Korsakov's claims in his memoirs to the contrary. The elder composer's comments on Glazunov's initial appearances as a conductor may in fact have been accurate for this occasion as well: "Slow by nature, maladroit and clumsy of movement, the maestro, speaking slowly and in a low voice, manifestly displayed little ability either for conducting rehearsals or for swaying the orchestra during concert performances." Not only did Glazunov conduct badly during the rehearsal of the First Symphony, but he also made cuts in the score and several changes in orchestration. The cuts he made in the first two movements made little sense musically, and his poor use of rehearsal time was complicated by the fact that two other works were receiving their first performances at the same concert. Harrison mentions that Rachmaninoff was concerned and tried talking to him during breaks in the rehearsal but to no effect.

Glazunov premiered the symphony on March 28 (March 16 o.s.), 1897. The performance was a complete failure; Rachmaninoff himself left in agony before it was over. Conductor Alexander Khessin, who attended the premiere, remembered, "The Symphony was insufficiently rehearsed, the orchestra was ragged, basic stability in tempos was lacking, many errors in the orchestral parts were uncorrected; but the chief thing that ruined the work was the lifeless, superficial, bland performance, with no flashes of animation, enthusiasm or brilliance of orchestral sound."

Moreover, Natalia Satina, who would become Rachmaninoff's wife, would later claim, along with other witnesses, that Glazunov may have been drunk on the podium. One person in particular wrote that at the rehearsal he was "standing motionless on the conductor's rostrum, wielding his baton without animation." Rachmaninoff was obviously very concerned and in the pauses went to Glazunov and said something to him, but he never managed to arouse him from a state of complete indifference. Although Rachmaninoff never echoed this claim of inebriation and the charge itself cannot be confirmed, it is also not implausible considering Glazunov's reputation for alcohol. As reportedly told later by his pupil Dmitri Shostakovich and echoed in the New Grove, Glazunov kept a bottle of alcohol hidden behind his desk at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, sipping it through a tube during lessons.

Drunk or not, Glazunov may have neither understood nor been totally committed to the symphony, as it was a composition in a newer, more modern idiom and greater length (approximately 45 minutes) than he might have expected. Nor was he apparently sympathetic to Rachmaninoff's music on the whole, commenting on another occasion, "There is a lot of feeling ... but no sense whatever." What makes this comment strange in itself is that Glazunov himself may have anticipated Rachmaninoff's musical style in his own Second Symphony, which he had written in 1886. (Glazunov later demonstrated his low regard for Rachmaninoff's music by leaving a copy of the score for the Fourth Piano Concerto in a Paris taxicab in 1930. The score had been a present from the composer.) Nevertheless, it might be surprising that Glazunov had conducted a competent performance of Rachmaninoff's orchestral fantasy The Rock the previous year. While it was generally received favorably, César Cui stated, in a foretaste of his comments on the symphony, that "the whole composition shows that this composer is more concerned about sound than about music." "

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._1_(Rachmaninoff)#First_performance
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 08:58:44 PM
I can only nod my head along with you, Kyle. The first symphony from Rachmaninov has been a work that I’ve never quite warmed to.

I like it!  :P
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 10:16:19 PM
Are there any great biographies focusing on Rachmaninoff? I read Schonberg's chapter (combo) on Scriabin and Rachmaninoff the other night and it was quite enlightening. Now I want more! >:D    What is the basic gateway for learning more about Rachmaninoff's life? Or Scriabin for that matter...?

(https://www.moscovery.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/header-19.jpg)

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2018, 11:34:23 PM
I came across this book....
Anybody familiar with this biography?

Sergei Bertensson: Sergei Rachmaninoff: A Lifetime in Music
ISBN: 978-0253214218

"Throughout his career as composer, conductor, and pianist, Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was an intensely private individual. When Bertensson and Leyda’s 1956 biography appeared, it lifted the veil of secrecy from several areas of Rachmaninoff’s life, especially concerning the genesis of his compositions and how their critical reception affected him.

The authors consulted a number of people who knew Rachmaninoff, who worked with him, and who corresponded with him. Even with the availability of such sources and full access to the Rachmaninoff Archive at the Library of Congress, Bertensson and Leyda were tireless in their pursuit of privately held documents, particularly correspondence. The wonderfully engaging product of their labors masterfully incorporates primary materials into the narrative."



Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on June 01, 2018, 03:58:21 AM
Rachmaninov is one of my all-time favorite composers!

Top 5:

The Miserly Knight
The Rock
The Bells
Isle of the Dead
Prince Rostislav
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on June 01, 2018, 05:16:17 AM
That likely is a result of the tight thematic unity. The slow movement is based almost entirely on the second theme of the first movement, just as the scherzo elaborates its first theme; And that second theme, with its exotic augmented 2nds, got as emotive as it was going to in its first movement incarnation. In the finale all of the first movement's themes are reintegrated and transformed anew — with a different, tragic, outcome. Rachmaninoff's First is arguably among the most systematically organized symphonies of any era with respect to its thematic processes.

Indeed, the tight thematic unity of the First Symphony is quite remarkable and only adds to the work’s powerful impact.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on June 01, 2018, 05:26:27 AM
I can only nod my head along with you, Kyle. The first symphony from Rachmaninov has been a work that I’ve never quite warmed to.

Well, John, it’s really only the slow movement that I have slight reservations about. I love the work as a whole. :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on June 01, 2018, 05:29:13 AM
Rachmaninov is one of my all-time favorite composers!

Top 5:

The Miserly Knight
The Rock
The Bells
Isle of the Dead
Prince Rostislav

He’s one of mine as well! Since we’re doing top 5s, mine would be (in no particular order):

Symphony no. 1
Symphony no. 2
Piano Concerto no. 2
The Bells
Symphonic Dances
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 01, 2018, 05:30:14 AM
Well, John, it’s really only the slow movement that I have slight reservations about. I love the work as a whole. :)

I haven’t really figured out this symphony is really why I haven’t warmed to it. Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 are outstanding however. Many people felt disappointed by the third symphony, but I think it’s quite strong and has an almost Neoclassical feel to some of the musical ideas.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on June 01, 2018, 05:38:46 AM
Rachmaninov is one of my all-time favorite composers!

Top 5:

The Miserly Knight
The Rock
The Bells
Isle of the Dead
Prince Rostislav

He’s one of mine as well! Since we’re doing top 5s, mine would be (in no particular order):

Symphony no. 1
Symphony no. 2
Piano Concerto no. 2
The Bells
Symphonic Dances

Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 are outstanding however. Many people felt disappointed by the Third Symphony, but I think it’s quite strong and has an almost Neoclassical feel to some of the musical ideas.

Amen to all the above!  Interesting: by chance I was just listening to the Third Symphony yesterday.  What has always interested me especially is the middle movement, which combines a slow movement with a Scherzo, and in a way inverts the usual Scherzo form of A-B-A, where "B" is a little slower in contrast to the "A" movements (check any Bruckner Scherzo for a rigorous lesson in that form!  8).

Here the "A" outer movements are the slower sections and "B" is the fast center.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 01, 2018, 05:49:19 AM
Great stuff.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on June 01, 2018, 01:33:18 PM
Amen to all the above!  Interesting: by chance I was just listening to the Third Symphony yesterday.  What has always interested me especially is the middle movement, which combines a slow movement with a Scherzo, and in a way inverts the usual Scherzo form of A-B-A, where "B" is a little slower in contrast to the "A" movements (check any Bruckner Scherzo for a rigorous lesson in that form!  8).

Here the "A" outer movements are the slower sections and "B" is the fast center.

Yes, the structure of the slow movement is quite ingenious! I love the opening of the movement - a horn solo accompanied by strummed harp chords creates a "legendary" atmosphere which almost seems more akin to, say, Bax than Rachmaninoff!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on September 18, 2018, 08:44:39 AM
Today's (Sept. 18, 2018) Wall Street Journal has an article about a recording of Rachmaninoff discovered in the archives of Eugene Ormandy, who (apparently) had recorded the composer secretly. 

Joseph Horowitz writes:

Quote
One of the saddest and most paradoxical artistic exiles of the 20th century was Sergei Rachmaninoff, who fled the Russian Revolution and wound up in New York and Los Angeles, in equal measure celebrated and obscure.

Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) left Moscow a composer and conductor of high consequence who also played the piano. Yet in America he barely conducted and his compositional output plummeted. To earn a living, he turned himself into a keyboard virtuoso of singular fame and attainment—a late embodiment of the heroic Romantic piano lineage beginning with Franz Liszt. Offstage, he retained a lonely Russian home and Russian customs. His severe crewcut and gimlet eyes disclosed little to the world at large. His personal poise was awesome and implacable.

Rachmaninoff’s privacy took other forms. He refused permission to have his concerts broadcast, effectively preventing any documentation of what he sounded like in live performance. Instead, he recorded extensively for RCA. But, absent the oxygen a body of listeners can activate, those readings are as celebrated for their emotional control as for their sovereign interpretive mastery. They enshrine kaleidoscopic miracles of color and texture wedded to a vice-like command of musical structure. But the cap remains on the bottle.

No longer. A decade ago, a researcher was browsing a collection left by the conductor Eugene Ormandy to the University of Pennsylvania—and read: “33 1/3:12/21/40: Symphonic Dances...Rachmaninoff in person playing the piano.” That is: Ormandy had privately recorded Rachmaninoff playing through his “Symphonic Dances” prior to Ormandy’s premiere performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra in January 1941. This turned out to be no morsel, but 26 minutes of a 35-minute composition. And it’s now embedded in a three-CD Marston set titled “Rachmaninoff Plays Symphonic Dances.” The result is one of the most searing listening experiences in the history of recorded sound.

Most of the best piano recordings are made in concert. They’re not as perfect as studio products, but by and large they’re more spontaneous, more intense, more creative. Vladimir Horowitz, an intimate friend, claimed that only one of Rachmaninoff’s commercial recordings—that of the second movement of his own First Concerto, recorded in 1939-40—gave a fair impression. If you listen to that recording, you’ll easily ascertain what Horowitz was talking about—it’s untethered.

As privately imparted to Ormandy, Rachmaninoff’s impromptu solo-piano rendering of his “Symphonic Dances” documents roaring cataracts of sound, massive chording, and pounding accents powered by a demonic thrust the likes of which no studio environment has ever fostered. Rachmaninoff’s humbling presence, re-encountered, is gigantic, cyclopean.

And there is more: the piece itself; it is Rachmaninoff’s valedictory. Summoning his waning creative energies in this last major work, he fashioned his musical testament. The dances originally bore titles: “Midday,” Twilight,” “Midnight.” These are stations of life. The finale ends in a blaze of glory; near the close, Rachmaninoff inscribed: “Alliluya.”

But the work’s most poignant moment comes in the first movement coda, which cites and pacifies the “vengeance” motto of the confessional First Symphony, a youthful effusion Rachmaninoff discarded following its disastrous 1897 premiere. It is music as naked as the nostalgic Rachmaninoff of the Second Piano Concerto is decorous: a baring of the soul. The First Symphony was completely unknown in 1940 (only in 1944 was a set of parts discovered). And so Rachmaninoff’s allusion in the “Symphonic Dances” is a soul-baring even more private than his piano-rehearsal with Ormandy. In terms of his creative odyssey—his exile and accommodation in a strange land—it is nothing less than a closing of the circle.


How does Rachmaninoff himself perform this secret passage, the meaning of which was his alone? Very slowly, lingeringly. Even more affecting is his treatment of the movement’s second subject, a long saxophone melody he invests with a heaving surge and ebb of feeling, imparting a trembling undertow of anguish, of memories faraway and yet unresolved. The second movement waltz, under Rachmaninoff’s fingers, is an essay in macabre shadow-play. The final dance is primal. The work emerges as an iconic leavetaking as bittersweet as any Mahler Abschied.

I own a 10-volume 1954 edition of “Grove’s Dictionary of Music” that allots to “Rakhmaninov” less than a page. It contains the sentence: “The enormous popular success some few of [his] works had in his lifetime is not likely to last, and musicians never regarded it with much favour.” Today that sentiment is as forgettable as Rachmaninoff is imperishable.

The little box containing these Rachmaninoff memories within memories includes other rarities. I cannot imagine a better introduction to this artist at his true worth. It stands as a rebuke to the slickness that often passes for Rachmaninoff interpretation nowadays. More than a lost art, it documents a lost world.

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on September 18, 2018, 11:56:57 AM
Today's (Sept. 18, 2018) Wall Street Journal has an article about a recording of Rachmaninoff discovered in the archives of Eugene Ormandy, who (apparently) had recorded the composer secretly. 

Joseph Horowitz writes:

Yes, that is being released on Marston records in a 3 CD set. I got my copy over the weekend.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on September 18, 2018, 12:47:30 PM
Yes, that is being released on Marston records in a 3 CD set. I got my copy over the weekend.

We await your review!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on September 18, 2018, 02:54:46 PM
We await your review!

My review is mixed. I thought the Rachmaninoff solo performances had far too much noise to be able to hear/enjoy them. And i am someone who collects historical recordings. The rest was actually more enjoyable. Most enjoyable of all was the 1940s broadcast performance of Moiseiwitsch/Boult playing the Rachmaninoff Paganini Rhapsody.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) Original Version Fourth Piano Concerto
Post by: Cato on November 12, 2018, 09:19:46 AM
Recently I investigated the recording of the Fourth Piano Concerto by Alexander Ghindin with Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the Helsinki Philharmonic.




The consensus seems to be that the original should not have been revised in any way.

I like the original very much also!  What say ye?  Any preferences, or is it like the Prokofiev Fourth Symphony or the Bruckner Third Symphony, where you might like all the versions?  :D



 
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on November 12, 2018, 09:50:36 AM
Hm, I have those recordings in the Decca Complete Rachmaninov set, but I don't think I've ever listened to them.  :-[  Must try to fix that soon.
E: Done. ;)  I enjoyed the original version very much, but I'd have to listen to it and the revision again to comment on the value of the revision.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on November 12, 2018, 01:26:33 PM
Hm, I have those recordings in the Decca Complete Rachmaninov set, but I don't think I've ever listened to them.  :-[  Must try to fix that soon.
E: Done. ;)  I enjoyed the original version very much, but I'd have to listen to it and the revision again to comment on the value of the revision.

We await your opinion!

To be sure, The Rach's revision of the First Concerto was on target!  ;)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on November 12, 2018, 03:21:31 PM
An article by Geoffrey Norris (of The Telegraph from Sept. 15, 2001 on the resuscitation of the Original Version of the Fourth Piano Concerto:

Quote


FOR nearly 75 years, a full-scale concerto manuscript by Rachmaninov, signed, dated and written in his own neat hand, has been languishing unplayed and neglected. Anybody interested in it knew exactly where it was and what it was, but it is only recently that a happy conjunction of events and opportunities has provided the impetus for the piece to be performed. This month it is being given in New York, and released on CD.

The autograph manuscript in question is that of the Fourth Piano Concerto - but not in the form we generally hear it today. Modern performances use the substantially revised edition that Rachmaninov made (and recorded) in 1941. The one that has now been given new life is the original, unpublished version that the composer completed in 1926, but which has not been aired in public since he himself played it in 1927.

A few years ago, a group of us - all friends and fellow Rachmaninov researchers - got together with the idea of making this initial version more widely available.

My own involvement with the composer's music goes back about 30 years, since before the first publication of my book on him in 1976. Subsequently, the book has been expanded, and the title of it has changed from Rakhmaninov to Rachmaninoff, thus neatly exemplifying the first knotty problem that any writer on him has to deal with - how to spell his name. "Rakhmaninov" follows a strict transliteration of the Cyrillic script, "Rachmaninoff" is the way the composer himself wrote his name in the West, and is the family's favoured spelling. "Rachmaninov" is a third, long-established alternative.

The senior member on our Fourth Concerto exercise was Robert Threlfall, who has an unparalleled knowledge of Rachmaninov's scores, and is a gifted pianist. It was he who gave the first London concert performance of the (revised) Fourth Concerto in 1947, and who published an illuminating book on the composer in 1973. He and I produced a detailed catalogue of Rachmaninov's music in 1982, and, even before our concerto project was up and running, he had already done much comparative work on its various versions.

Our group was further bolstered by the Dutch Rachmaninov scholar Elger Niels, whose idea it originally was that we should all collaborate, and by the American expert Dr David Cannata, who has written ground-breaking studies of Rachmaninov and has made editions of his music for the publisher Sikorski.

Looking back on the way our respective duties were assigned, it is clear that the other three were going to do all the hard graft and that I was to undertake the glamorous bits. Nothing new there, some might say, but anyway my first job was to secure a copy of the manuscript from the Library of Congress in Washington DC. For that, we needed the permission of Alexandre Rachmaninoff, the composer's grandson, with whom I was on friendly terms.

As it happens, we were both going to be at a symposium about his grandfather at the University of Maryland, close to Washington, in the spring of 1998. He granted permission; we went up together to the Library of Congress, and I flew back to London bearing a photocopy of the manuscript.

Our plan was that the other three in our group would then have the arduous task of preparing a score and orchestral parts, though in the event this was taken on by Boosey & Hawkes, Rachmaninov's principal publisher. My next job was to find somebody to perform it, and here there was a stroke of luck. Selflessly pursuing my sybaritic brief, I was spending a weekend as a guest of Alexandre Rachmaninoff at the Swiss villa that his grandfather built on the shores of Lake Lucerne. Vladimir Ashkenazy, who lives on the other side of the lake, came over for drinks. In conversation it turned out that our Fourth Concerto idea fitted in perfectly with a plan of his own to conduct and record the first version of the First Concerto, with the Helsinki Philharmonic and the pianist Alexander Ghindin. The Fourth would make an ideal coupling. From then on, it was plain sailing, and both concertos were recorded for the Ondine label in Helsinki's Finlandia Hall in March this year.

So, why did we decide to set this project in motion? The fact is that the Fourth Concerto has never sounded quite right. The music, particularly in the finale, has a truncated feel to it. And there is good reason why that should be so, because Rachmaninov made hefty cuts to it. The concerto had been germinating in his mind during his last years in Russia, but only after he had emigrated in 1917, and when he needed a new concerto to add to his own repertoire as a pianist, did he sit down and finish it. Immediately, he was alarmed by how long it had become, joking to his friend, the pianist and composer Nikolai Medtner (to whom the concerto is dedicated), that it would have to be performed on consecutive nights, like Wagner's Ring.

He nevertheless went ahead with the premiere, playing it on March 18, 1927, with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski, but soon afterwards he began to take the blue pencil to it, principally with a view to making it more concise, but altering details of orchestration and piano figuration as well. A revised score was published in 1928, but the concerto still failed to please either Rachmaninov or his audiences and critics, and he decided to drop it from his repertoire until he could have another look at it. In 1941 he made even more cuts to produce the third version (published in 1944) that is generally played today.

There is a lobby of opinion - including, it must be admitted, Ashkenazy himself - which reckons that Rachmaninov would have been better advised to discard the finale and write a new one, because the musical material lacks the strength and substance to match a first movement that Ashkenazy regards as a "masterpiece, absolutely wonderful, nothing like he composed before, one of my favourite Rachmaninov movements".

But, since that is no longer an option, the resuscitation of his first version, without any of his later cuts and tinkerings, provides the opportunity to hear a more balanced, broadly conceived score.

As with many of these things, you rather wish there could be some sort of amalgam, because by no means everything Rachmaninov later did to the Fourth Concerto is detrimental. But that is not an option either, and certainly Alexander Ghindin, the pianist on the new Ondine disc, finds it much easier to fathom the finale's psychological development in this early, uncut score. Listeners to it will find a lot of unfamiliar passages, making for a more natural flow between certain sections that, in the final version, sound disjunct. It could well be that, in time, this early version will come to be preferred. But then I would say that, wouldn't I?


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/4725604/Bringing-Rachmaninov-back-to-life.html (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/4725604/Bringing-Rachmaninov-back-to-life.html)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: relm1 on November 18, 2018, 04:57:39 PM
Quick survey, which do you prefer the original or final versions of Piano Concertos No. 1 and 4?  For me, I prefer the original.  One of the things I most adore about him is his structure.  I believe the original versions had greater structure compared to the final versions whereas the final versions were taught but at a cost to his structure feeling somewhat disjointed.  Another example, his Symphony No. 2 which had many cuts to me feels best in its original form.  He was a master and transformation and development.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on November 18, 2018, 06:39:21 PM
Quick survey, which do you prefer the original or final versions of Piano Concertos No. 1 and 4?  For me, I prefer the original.  One of the things I most adore about him is his structure.  I believe the original versions had greater structure compared to the final versions whereas the final versions were taught but at a cost to his structure feeling somewhat disjointed.  Another example, his Symphony No. 2 which had many cuts to me feels best in its original form.  He was a master and transformation and development.

I am a fan of the Original Fourth Piano Concerto!  A much more novelistic and emotionally powerful work than the revision.

With the First, I think the revision is the better one, because it separates the work more from Grieg's concerto.  Still, the Urfassung of the First is not bad by any means!

And yes, the complete version of the Second Symphony is the only one to have!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: relm1 on December 04, 2018, 04:58:17 PM
I have always adored early Rachmaninoff.  For example the gorgeous and powerful "The Rock" but I have no idea what it is actually about.  This sounds like programmatic music telling an epic and possibly ancient tail.  What is the story the music is telling?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on December 04, 2018, 06:25:50 PM
I have always adored early Rachmaninoff.  For example the gorgeous and powerful "The Rock" but I have no idea what it is actually about.  This sounds like programmatic music telling an epic and possibly ancient tail.  What is the story the music is telling?

Try this:

Quote


Dark, sombre – an old man. A light arpeggio theme with a solo flute – a young woman. Two characters from a poem written by the Russian Romantic poet Mikhail Lermontov.

A golden cloud slept for her pleasure
All night on the breast of the gaunt rock.

During the summer of 1893, Sergey Rachmaninov composed a symphonic poems apparently inspired partly by Lermontov’s poem: The Rock, Op. 7. The two quoted lines are found as an epitaph on the first published score. However later he refuted his initial idea and claimed that his piece reflected a story by the writer Anton Chekhov called “Along the way”. The old man and the woman meet on Christmas Eve in a tavern while a storm is raging outside. The man recounts his sad life, his failures, his regrets, while the woman listens with much compassion. In the morning she has to leave and the man is left behind, gradually being covered by the falling snow until he resembles a rock.



And here is a website with the story by Chekhov:

http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1197/ (http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1197/)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on December 05, 2018, 12:35:55 AM
I have always adored early Rachmaninoff.  For example the gorgeous and powerful "The Rock" but I have no idea what it is actually about.  This sounds like programmatic music telling an epic and possibly ancient tail.  What is the story the music is telling?
Me too - especially Symphony 1.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Dima on December 05, 2018, 02:25:09 AM
I have always adored early Rachmaninoff.  For example the gorgeous and powerful "The Rock" but I have no idea what it is actually about.  This sounds like programmatic music telling an epic and possibly ancient tail.  What is the story the music is telling?
Rachmaninov told that the programm of "The Rock" is "The Rock" of poet Lermontov and the story "On the road" by Anton Chekhov (this story has also the epigraph from "The Rock" of Lermontov). You can read Chekhov here in English: http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1197/

Lermontov - The Rock Ledge (1841)
Through the night, a golden cloud lay sleeping
On the breast of a gigantic rock ledge.
In the morning, early, off she hurried;
Through the azure, carefree, she went playing.

But a trace of moisture was still clinging
To the wrinkled rock ledge. Old and lonely,
He stood there as though in sad reflection—
In the empty spaces softly weeping.

—translated by Guy Daniels, 1965, in 'A Lermontov Reader.'

More about the history of this composition you can read if you translate from russian this page in google: http://www.belcanto.ru/rachmaninov_rock.html
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: relm1 on December 05, 2018, 07:13:18 AM
Rachmaninov told that the programm of "The Rock" is "The Rock" of poet Lermontov and the story "On the road" by Anton Chekhov (this story has also the epigraph from "The Rock" of Lermontov). You can read Chekhov here in English: http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1197/

Lermontov - The Rock Ledge (1841)
Through the night, a golden cloud lay sleeping
On the breast of a gigantic rock ledge.
In the morning, early, off she hurried;
Through the azure, carefree, she went playing.

But a trace of moisture was still clinging
To the wrinkled rock ledge. Old and lonely,
He stood there as though in sad reflection—
In the empty spaces softly weeping.

—translated by Guy Daniels, 1965, in 'A Lermontov Reader.'

More about the history of this composition you can read if you translate from russian this page in google: http://www.belcanto.ru/rachmaninov_rock.html

Thanks.  Seems like a strange story based on the article you linked to.  A bit of a fairy tale where a man pursuing a woman waits for her and turns into a white cliff as he waits forever.  Translated article:

The Rock, Op. 7
Fantasia for large symphony orchestra (1893)
The composition of the orchestra: 2 flutes, flute piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 French horn, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle, tambourine, cymbals, bass drum, tomtum, harp, strings.

History of creation
Sergey Vasilievich Rakhmaninov / Sergei Rachmaninoff

In the spring of 1892, Rachmaninov graduated from the composition course at the Moscow Conservatory. Graduation work was the opera “Aleko” on Pushkin's “Gypsies”, which received the highest rating. A year later, on April 27, 1893, its premiere took place, and Tchaikovsky, who was an indisputable authority for the beginning composer, spoke extremely highly of opera. But along with such joyful events in the life of Rachmaninov there was a great personal tragedy. His ardent youthful feeling for Vera Skalon was rejected, and not by the girl herself, but by her parents, who did not allow the possibility of Vera’s marriage — the beauty and the general’s daughter — with a poor man of no future. Perhaps the moods that engulfed a twenty-year-old boy after such a categorical refusal caused the appearance of the Cliff fantasy.

Rachmaninov - the best in the online store Ozon →
In the letters of this time, the following lines break through: “Our brother is only pleased to look at someone else’s happiness ...” Or: “I know my years very well, and my name is“ old man ”is just a joke ...” romances written in the months following the break, in the poetic Barcarole from the Suite for two pianos, in Romance for violin and piano. It seems that the choice of the program for orchestral composition is not accidental. It was originally called Fantasy for a symphony orchestra and was created in the summer of 1893 in Lebedin, the county town of the Kharkov province, where Rachmaninov lived with hospitable elderly spouses who created all the conditions for fruitful work. In the middle of September, 1893, at the musical evening at Taneyev, where Tchaikovsky showed the just completed Sixth Symphony, Rachmaninov presented his first orchestral composition to the venerable colleagues. On the score, the composer left the lines: “This fantasy was written under the impression of Lermontov's poem“ The Rock ”. The author chose the initial words of the poem as an epigraph to his work:

The golden cloud spent the night
On the chest of the giant rock.

However, later Rachmaninov began to call his fantasy simply "Rock". However, the content of the music is not exhausted either by the quoted or all the lines of the poem: it has passion, protest, despair. It is known that in addition to this, the announced program, fantasy existed another one, which he revealed to the few. Among these few was the critic N. Kashkin, who wrote in the review for the premiere of Utes, held on March 20, 1894 in the symphonic meeting of the Russian Musical Academy under the direction of V. Safonov: "On a way"; but the composer gave his composition the name "Rock", because the epigraph to the story was the beginning of the famous poem of Lermontov. " Later Rakhmaninov gave Chekhov (1860-1904) a copy of the score "Cliffs" with the inscription: "To the dear and respected Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, the author of the story “On the Road”, whose content with the same epigraph served as a program for this musical composition. November 9, 1898.

The writer in the story relating to 1886, draws a meeting at the postal station on a blizzard on Christmas night two people - middle-aged, many survived and felt about, and the girl, barely entering into life. Dawn is coming, the girl is leaving. “... She did not say a word to him, but only looked at him through long eyelashes with snowflakes on them ... Did his sensitive soul actually read this look, or perhaps his imagination deceived him, but he suddenly it would seem that there would be two or three good strong touches, and this girl would have forgiven him for his failures, old age, lack of business, and would have followed him without asking, not reasoning. For a long time he stood rooted to the spot, and looked at the track left by the runners. Snowflakes eagerly sat on his hair, beard, shoulders ... Soon the track from the runners disappeared, and he, covered with snow, began to resemble a white cliff,

Music
The introductory section opens with a theme of the cliff, a mournful but full of restrained passion. Her recitative is intonated by low strings and bassoons per octave. On the rustling ascending tremolo of the strings, the theme of clouds appears in the lungs of the flute's fluttering passages fluttering carelessly. It develops, for a moment becomes more soulful and tender, and then fades away. In the new episode (Un Roso Meno Mosso) the theme of the cliff acquires the character of a passionate plea, then a timid love motif appears (flute solo, then oboe and horn) - as if the heart of an old cliff trembled. This motif turns into a melody that embodies longing, loneliness. The whimsical passages of the theme of a cloud rush along, accompanied by arpeggios of harps, trills of strings. The main themes are being transformed: the motive of love acquires the character of a dance tune, the theme of the cliff is becoming increasingly alarming. Accelerated movement. The theme of the cliff sounds with increasing despair. As if from afar echo of the theme of unrealizable love. The theme of the cloud comes back again and again as a memory. Musical development reaches a huge climax, and only the last bars stop at pianissimo.

L. Mikheeva

Until the mid-90s, Rachmaninoff wrote, not counting the early experiments of the conservatory period, three symphonic works of different character: “The Rock”, Capriccio on Gypsy Topics, First Symphony. In terms of monumentality of scale and breadth of design, it approaches the symphonic genre of the Elegiac Trio, dedicated to the memory of PI Tchaikovsky. If some of these compositions appeared relatively easily and quickly, others were long nurtured and pondered by the composer, who did not find an adequate form for the realization of his creative ideas, and even after repeated alterations he remained not completely satisfied with them.

One of the works typical for the young Rachmaninoff is the cliff orchestral fantasy (1893), which still enjoys wide popularity on a concert stage. The “Cliff” score was preceded by the following author's comment: “This fantasy is written under the impression of Lermontov’s poem“ The Rock ”. The author chose the initial words of the poem as an epigraph to his work:

The golden cloud spent the night
on the chest of the giant rock. "

There is an indication of another literary source of the Rachmaninov play, coming from the composer himself. The copy of the score, presented to them by A. P. Chekhov in 1898, has the inscription: “... to the author of the story“ On the Way ", the content of which, with the same epigraph, served as the program for this musical composition.

It is hardly possible to consider this story as a symphonic fantasy program in the literal sense of the word; familiarity with it could only serve as an impetus for the birth of the composer’s creative intent. But nevertheless the connection between the two works is very significant. Rachmaninov could attract in Chekhov's story not only the situation itself - a fleeting meeting of unfamiliar men and women who have mutual attraction, but their life paths are different, and separation occurs before they have time to give themselves a clear account of their feelings. In many ways, the composer turned out to be close to the very image of the hero of the story - the “eternal wanderer” in life, looking, restlessly restless and not finding anything in satisfaction. “In all my life, I did not know what peace is,” Chekhov Likharev said. “My soul continually languished, suffered even hopes ... "His biography is typical of an 80th Russian intellectual who is overwhelmed with high aspirations but who is unable to actually accomplish anything of his good impulses. Likharev was fond of science, political activity, went to the people, sat in prisons, then hit the tolstovstvo. Each of these hobbies, he gave himself to selflessness, but quickly cooled and disappointed. However, despite all the failures that had befallen him, abandoned, deeply miserable and lonely, he did not lose the most important thing - a hot, passionate attitude to life, spiritual purity, sincerity and faith in a person. Each of these hobbies, he gave himself to selflessness, but quickly cooled and disappointed. However, despite all the failures that had befallen him, abandoned, deeply miserable and lonely, he did not lose the most important thing - a hot, passionate attitude to life, spiritual purity, sincerity and faith in a person. Each of these hobbies, he gave himself to selflessness, but quickly cooled and disappointed. However, despite all the failures that had befallen him, abandoned, deeply miserable and lonely, he did not lose the most important thing - a hot, passionate attitude to life, spiritual purity, sincerity and faith in a person.

The content of the Rachmaninov symphonic fantasy is not the specific disclosure in the music of this psychologically complex image and, all the more, not the reproduction of the external situation, against the background of which Chekh is shown Likharev's chance meeting with a passing young woman. Rachmaninov sought to convey in his work the state of deep depression and dissatisfaction, combined with the burning thirst for joy and happiness that Chekhov's hero is experiencing. Images of Lermontov's poem serve him as a poetic metaphor for this psychological motif.

Lyrical emotion and intensity of expression are combined in the music of symphonic fantasy with the richness and brilliance of orchestral colors, an abundance of sound-writing elements. The work is built on three themes, different in their figurative meaning. The first theme, described in unison with string basses in a deaf low register, is associated with the image of a lonely, stern and gloomy cliff standing alone. Heaving heavily for a small sixth, the melody then slowly, gradually descends to the tonic abutment with the chromatic sharpening of the individual steps and expressive sighing intonations that emphasize the state of painful, hopeless grief:


The second, light, airy theme of the scerzoic type conveys the image of a cloud that has darted away into the distant way, “playing merrily on azure.” The character of this image corresponds to the whimsically elusive pattern of the melody, which quickly runs through a wide sound space (more than two octaves), the light timbre of the woodwinds (flute, clarinet, piccolo flute) against the background of tremulating bows, which are then joined by rapid hariss glissands, “flickering” variability harmonic coloring:


The third theme in its figurative meaning corresponds to the second stanza of the Lermontov poem:

But there was a wet mark on the wrinkle of the
Old Cliff. Alone
He stands, deep in thought
And he quietly cries in the desert.

The melodic-intonational structure of this theme is typical of the sorrow-elegiac melodies of the early Rachmaninoff. It is closed in the range of a reduced quart between the third and the introductory tone of the harmonic minor with an emphasis on the upper, tertzovy sound. A characteristic expressive detail is the evenly repeating sound d of the second violins, which gives the impression of dripping tears. The sharp expressive effect is also created by the simultaneous sounding of a small second cis - d on the third quarter of measure 1:


Further, when this topic appears in a more detailed presentation, the melodic move to a reduced quart in an “open” form with a characteristic harmonic turn, clearly emerges, a special expressive significance of which Rakhmaninov has repeatedly noted:


The successive holding of three themes resembles the exposition of the sonata allegro, consisting of the introduction, main and side games.

The first, expositional section of the symphonic fantasy is followed by the second “development circle”, which can be conventionally compared with the development. Here, basically, the same order of alternation of themes remains, but they undergo various modifications, and the tonal plan changes accordingly. Particularly characteristic is the transformation of the last of these themes in the episode Quasi presto, which represents the culmination of this section. The mournful expressively melodic theme acquires a harsh, sharply rhythmic character, as if spinning in a swift and furious whirlwind, recalling lines from Chekhov's story: “The weather was roaring outside. Something mad, angry, but deeply unhappy, with the fury of the beast, rushed around the tavern and tried to rush inside.

In the third and final section (Allegro con agitazione) a dark, gloomy initial theme dominates, reaching here a great dramatic power of sound. The theme of the "rushing cloud" no longer appears at all, and the sad theme of separation and loneliness, as if from a distance, sounds muffled twice before the very end at the horny horn.

Proceeding from literary impressions, Rachmaninov creates an independent musical composition in “The Rock”, in which the main figurative elements, prompted by a poetic source, receive a free, largely independent development from it. Not in all this composition can be considered quite successful. The work suffers from a known friability, scattered shapes. But this is largely due to the expressive vividness of the thematic images and the beauty of the musical language.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 05, 2018, 12:51:47 PM
The Rock is one of my favorite symphonic poems ever (if it counts as one, I think Rachmaninov called it Fantasia. I seem to have run into that golden cloud- poem in Russian classical music works. I believe Tchaikovsky composed something about this as well (unless it was a different poem).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Dima on December 05, 2018, 02:10:58 PM
The Rock is one of my favorite symphonic poems ever (if it counts as one, I think Rachmaninov called it Fantasia. I seem to have run into that golden cloud- poem in Russian classical music works. I believe Tchaikovsky composed something about this as well (unless it was a different poem).
Yes, Tchaikovsky wrote little choral work on the same poem and also 80 (!) Russian composers did. Lermontov is very famous poet of Russia.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on December 05, 2018, 02:16:01 PM
Lermontov is very famous poet of Russia.

His poem The Angel is one of the most beautiful and heartwrenching ever penned.

Across the dark sky came the angel in flight
Who sang a soft song through the night.
And stars and the moon and the clouds in their throng
Gave ear to that heavenly song.

He sang of immaculate spirits that move
In bliss in the Heavenly Grove,
He sang of the Lord of All Things, every phrase
Unfeigned in that purest of praise.

He bore in his arms a young soul toward its birth,
To sorrow and tears of this earth.
And in that young soul the great sound of his song
Remained without words now, but strong.

And long did it languish on earth in its time
Replete with a yearning sublime,
A soul that knew tones of the heavenly race
No dull tune of earth could replace.


Medtner was constantly inspired by it.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 18, 2019, 10:59:13 AM
It's already been commented here before, but I couldn't avoid to express my sentiments towards Prince Rostislav. I listened to it on last Saturday. Really impressive, intriguing, gripping and poetic. And it was written in 1891, when Sergei was 18 years old. A relatively mature work for a young composer. To my ears it sounds more succinct than Isle of the Dead, yet both works have their special magic.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on March 18, 2019, 12:22:25 PM
It's already been commented here before, but I couldn't avoid to express my sentiments towards Prince Rostislav. I listened to it on last Saturday. Really impressive, intriguing, gripping and poetic. And it was written in 1891, when Sergei was 18 years old. A relatively mature work for a young composer. To my ears it sounds more succinct than Isle of the Dead, yet both works have their special magic.
+1
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Christo on March 18, 2019, 10:48:12 PM
It's already been commented here before, but I couldn't avoid to express my sentiments towards Prince Rostislav. I listened to it on last Saturday. Really impressive, intriguing, gripping and poetic. And it was written in 1891, when Sergei was 18 years old. A relatively mature work for a young composer. To my ears it sounds more succinct than Isle of the Dead, yet both works have their special magic.
As a youth, I had a similar experience with the Capriccio bohémien, also composed in his younger years. In retrospect it already contains all the components of the Symphonic Dances.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on March 19, 2019, 09:43:12 AM
+1

+2

I'm a huge fan of Prince Rostislav.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on March 19, 2019, 09:48:49 AM
+2

I'm a huge fan of Prince Rostislav.
I especially like this CD:
(http://)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Roasted Swan on March 20, 2019, 12:24:03 AM
Back in the day I played in the UK premiere of Prince Rostislav - barely legible parts as I recall.  It was when I was a student and played with the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra which is London based (was then anyway) and made up of students from all the main London Music Conservatoires.

Re the Rock - the finest performance I've heard by some distance is this one



Kitajenko avoids bombast and sheer red-blooded excitement in the Symphony (not always to the work's advantage I feel - it can take a lot of drama that piece!) but the sound of his German orchestra is gorgeous and The Rock benefits from a weighty and powerful reading
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: relm1 on March 20, 2019, 06:26:20 AM
I like Svetlanov/USSR State Symphony for its white hot epicness in Rostislav.  It's a very slow and brooding performance.  Unfortunately it is a very old recording but very ominous rock this.  He recorded it many times and in much better sound but never matched the intensity and exoticism as this early one.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 20, 2019, 09:49:09 AM
I like Svetlanov/USSR State Symphony for its white hot epicness in Rostislav.  It's a very slow and brooding performance.  Unfortunately it is a very old recording but very ominous rock this.  He recorded it many times and in much better sound but never matched the intensity and exoticism as this early one.

That is the recording I have, and yes, I like it because the music unfolds better, there is more intrigue and atmosphere.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Alek Hidell on March 23, 2019, 07:24:07 AM
I'm a fan of the Piano Trios and have the Borodin Trio version:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ilYz-SNWL.jpg)

... but I wouldn't mind hearing another version or two. Recommendations, anyone?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 23, 2019, 09:05:03 PM
I'm a fan of the Piano Trios and have the Borodin Trio version:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ilYz-SNWL.jpg)

... but I wouldn't mind hearing another version or two. Recommendations, anyone?

I haven’t heard it yet, but Jens (SurprisedByBeauty) recommended this recording to me many months ago:



I own that Borodin Trio recording on Chandos and have found the performances to be exemplary.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Irons on March 24, 2019, 01:24:56 AM
With an all star line-up including Kogan and Luzanov it comes as a bit of a shock that the "star" of this recording is Yevgeni Svetlanov (with no little assistance from Rachmaninov). Svetlanov also lays down his baton for in my view a finer work, the Cello Sonata, again with Luzanov. Svetlanov was a very good pianist indeed.

(https://img.discogs.com/eJ-ua7j273EmN1oFzmyNUaDv-Xs=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-7507796-1442917793-9565.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Draško on March 24, 2019, 03:24:48 AM
With an all star line-up including Kogan and Luzanov it comes as a bit of a shock that the "star" of this recording is Yevgeni Svetlanov (with no little assistance from Rachmaninov). Svetlanov also lays down his baton for in my view a finer work, the Cello Sonata, again with Luzanov. Svetlanov was a very good pianist indeed.

(https://img.discogs.com/eJ-ua7j273EmN1oFzmyNUaDv-Xs=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-7507796-1442917793-9565.jpeg.jpg)

Exactly!! I agree with everything Irons said of this recording.

Rachmaninov 2nd Trio is one of super rare pieces where I feel I found the definitive recording and no one needs apply. And unexpectedly that is largely down to Svetlanov's granitic monolith of a performance (think 2001). Who knew?

Availability is bit of a problem. Unless Melodiya reissued it lately (haven't bee keeping tabs) the only CD release is out of print Russian Disc (https://www.amazon.com/Rachmaninov-Piano-Trio-minor-élégiaque/dp/B000001LMM). It was much easier to find during LP days.

Youtube to the rescue, per usual, at least for sampling purposes.

https://www.youtube.com/v/UC-jip4cJCs
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star on March 24, 2019, 05:18:20 AM
Exactly!! I agree with everything Irons said of this recording.

Rachmaninov 2nd Trio is one of super rare pieces where I feel I found the definitive recording and no one needs apply. And unexpectedly that is largely down to Svetlanov's granitic monolith of a performance (think 2001). Who knew?

Availability is bit of a problem. Unless Melodiya reissued it lately (haven't bee keeping tabs) the only CD release is out of print Russian Disc (https://www.amazon.com/Rachmaninov-Piano-Trio-minor-élégiaque/dp/B000001LMM). It was much easier to find during LP days.

Youtube to the rescue, per usual, at least for sampling purposes.

https://www.youtube.com/v/UC-jip4cJCs
Well, that was very good indeed
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 29, 2019, 04:10:12 AM
I haven’t heard it yet, but Jens (SurprisedByBeauty) recommended this recording to me many months ago:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B01MQB1B53.01.L.jpg)

I own that Borodin Trio recording on Chandos and have found the performances to be exemplary.

Yes, I thought that is a very fine recording that I liked better - in some ways - than, say, Makhtin / Berezovsky / Kniazev & Lang / Repin / Maisky. Has anyone heard the Moscow Rachmaninov Trio on Hyperion?

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2019, 06:53:24 AM
Yes, I thought that is a very fine recording that I liked better - in some ways - than, say, Makhtin / Berezovsky / Kniazev & Lang / Repin / Maisky. Has anyone heard the Moscow Rachmaninov Trio on Hyperion?

I haven’t heard that Moscow Trio performance on Hyperion in quite some time, but I recall not being too impressed with it. I thought some of the subtlety and nuance was lost, especially in the Trio élégiaque No 2 in D minor, Op. 9.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on July 10, 2019, 08:40:05 PM
Instructed to go and 'look for some nice summer trousers' in a Sue Ryder charity shop whilst on holiday in Suffolk I naturally headed straight to the second-hand CD section. Normally there is not much to interest me here, amongst the selection of Jim Reeves, Elvis, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass CDs etc (not that there is anything wrong with these artists just not my cup of tea) but I found a great bargain - the complete Rachmaninov symphonies on two CDs conducted by Walter Weller on Decca for £1.00. No.1 is well known to me and IMO one of the greatest performances of that fine work but I'm unaware of nos 2 and 3 conducted by Weller.  Actually the notes are all in Japanese but there is a fine photograph of the composer contained therein. I also snapped up a recording of Shostakovich's 'Leningrad Symphony' on the Stradivarius label - also for £1.00. I was able to smuggle them out the shop concealed in the trousers (not really, actually my wife made no fuss about the CD purchases).
 8)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: pjme on July 11, 2019, 12:05:39 AM
Hahaha! More or less my experience last weekend.
On sunday mornings, I quite regularly go to the small town of Heist - op - den - Berg. Its market is famous and still has a "Brueghelian" feel. You'll find butchers, greengrocers, sellers of farmers tools and small animals, lots of bric-à-brac,  old books, used toys and the odd antique gem. There are two charity shops ...and Cds . And, yes, Jim Reeves, Elvis, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass , Helmut Lotti and the Three tenors apparently were as popular here as in Suffolk.
Interesting Cds are very rare, but do pop up. I didn't find any Rachmaninov, but was amazed to discover music by Brazilian Marlos Nobre (°1939).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 11, 2019, 06:41:38 AM
Thanks for the smile, gents!
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: pjme on July 11, 2019, 12:13:59 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ecCwbj9EL.jpg)

63 ,- $ on Amazon, 1.50 € in Heist - op - den - Berg!

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Marlos_Nobre_M%C3%A9rito_Cultural_2013_cropped.jpg)

Maestro Nobre today...
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Christo on July 11, 2019, 12:44:56 PM
63 ,- $ on Amazon, 1.50 € in Heist - op - den - Berg!
Great story, nice place!
(https://photos.wikimapia.org/p/00/03/56/90/68_big.jpg)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on July 12, 2019, 09:12:02 PM
Hahaha! More or less my experience last weekend.
On sunday mornings, I quite regularly go to the small town of Heist - op - den - Berg. Its market is famous and still has a "Brueghelian" feel. You'll find butchers, greengrocers, sellers of farmers tools and small animals, lots of bric-à-brac,  old books, used toys and the odd antique gem. There are two charity shops ...and Cds . And, yes, Jim Reeves, Elvis, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass , Helmut Lotti and the Three tenors apparently were as popular here as in Suffolk.
Interesting Cds are very rare, but do pop up. I didn't find any Rachmaninov, but was amazed to discover music by Brazilian Marlos Nobre (°1939).

I like the sound of the 'Brueghelian' market - one of my favourite Flemish painters. I don't see any second-hand CD stalls in the picture below however!
(http://)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on July 12, 2019, 09:14:43 PM
Thanks for the smile, gents!
:)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Andy D. on July 18, 2019, 11:44:48 PM
Another composer who recently clicked for me. Hugely in love with the symphonies and PC 3.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on July 19, 2019, 02:18:48 AM
Another composer who recently clicked for me. Hugely in love with the symphonies and PC 3.
Good to know Andy. Symphony 1 and PC 4 are my favourites but I enjoy them all. I wonder if you know 'The Bells' which I think is his masterpiece and The Isle of the Dead, both are marvellous works IMO.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Andy D. on July 19, 2019, 02:31:32 AM
Good to know Andy. Symphony 1 and PC 4 are my favourites but I enjoy them all. I wonder if you know 'The Bells' which I think is his masterpiece and The Isle of the Dead, both are marvellous works IMO.

Good morning from sunny Vermont! I have the Askenazi box with all of those pieces. LOVE it!!!!

I'll be my usual fanatic self and start digging up other recordings soon.... ;)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on July 19, 2019, 02:35:00 AM
Another composer who recently clicked for me. Hugely in love with the symphonies and PC 3.

Hey Andy!

Tried the solo works yet, like the Preludes?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on July 19, 2019, 02:37:44 AM
Good morning from sunny Vermont! I have the Askenazi box with all of those pieces. LOVE it!!!!

I'll be my usual fanatic self and start digging up other recordings soon.... ;)
Greetings from rainy Sussex!
Excellent and I think that Ashkenazy is a great conductor and performer of Rachmaninov.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on July 19, 2019, 05:05:09 AM
Another composer who recently clicked for me. Hugely in love with the symphonies and PC 3.

Excellent, Andy! Rachmaninoff is one of my favorite composers and I love nearly everything he wrote.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on July 19, 2019, 08:39:06 AM
Excellent, Andy! Rachmaninoff is one of my favorite composers and I love nearly everything he wrote.

+ 1.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: pjme on July 19, 2019, 08:45:02 AM
Anna Moffo and Stokowski (Moffo sings an arrangement by Arcady Dubensky).
Gorgeous!

 https://www.youtube.com/v/GibjzBPwhBU
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Irons on July 19, 2019, 11:11:05 PM
So many great moments in Rachmaninov's music. The saxophone solo in the first movement of Symphonic Dances is one, the opening of the 1st Symphony is another. There are many more.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen on July 19, 2019, 11:22:48 PM
So many great moments in Rachmaninov's music. The saxophone solo in the first movement of Symphonic Dances is one, the opening of the 1st Symphony is another. There are many more.
+1 for Symphonic Dances. I find Symphony 3 rather moving and love the ending. Symphony No.2 and PC No.3 were my mother's favourite pieces of classical music, so I have a soft spot for them too. I recall that she loved the LP with Ashkenazy/Fistoulari doing the PC No.3 and Ashkenazy conducting the Second Symphony.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on July 20, 2019, 04:18:43 AM
So many great moments in Rachmaninov's music. The saxophone solo in the first movement of Symphonic Dances is one, the opening of the 1st Symphony is another. There are many more.

Yes. And what makes him all the more endearing to me is his willingness to actually take the audience's response to his music into account, both as composer and performer.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: kyjo on July 20, 2019, 06:05:21 AM
So many great moments in Rachmaninov's music. The saxophone solo in the first movement of Symphonic Dances is one, the opening of the 1st Symphony is another. There are many more.

Wholeheartedly agreed. Also, I find the ethereal coda of the first movement of the Symphonic Dances to be one of the most magical passages in all of music. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the opening and ending of the 1st Symphony are among the most gripping and cataclysmic.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChopinBroccoli on July 20, 2019, 08:52:32 AM
I don't particularly understand the need among some to stubbornly deny Rachmaninoff... I DO understand which elements of his style might be off putting to some listeners

His music is often unabashedly romantic and lush which arouses suspicion in the intellectual... no matter... I'm more concerned with sincerity, intent... The most important question to me is if I believe Rachmaninoff's romanticism.  The answer, broadly speaking is yes. 

Rachmaninoff wrote the way he did because he was essentially a romantic fellow.  The more difficulty a listener has identifying with that state of mind, the more likely they are to dismiss his music as syrupy and full of empty, grand gestures. 

The first Rachmaninoff I ever heard (and probably lots of people ever hear) is the 18th variation in the Rhapsody... my attitude was dismissive; essentially "that's very beautiful, well played movie music... an impostor's Tchaikovsky" ... when I finally listened to the entire work, I realized I was dead wrong

For me, all 4 Piano Concertos are major works with the 2nd in particular a truly great work that belongs on the short list of the greatest concertos. 

Much of his solo piano music is revelatory and combines his undeniable tunefulness with his grand and powerful technique... the Chopin and Corelli variations offer numerous pleasures as do the sonatas. 

All 3 symphonies have merit, the second is probably the most consistently successful

The Isle of The Dead and the Symphonic Dances are also excellent

For my money, clearly a major composer and a hugely influential pianist with a clearly unique voice just as his juniors Stravinsky/Prokofiev/Shostakovich had their unique voices.  I can respect if he's not someone's cup of tea, but I think dismissal of him is just incorrect.  I don't particularly enjoy Bruckner or Mahler, for example but I'd never brazenly deny either of them.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on July 20, 2019, 09:26:58 AM
Rachmaninoff wrote the way he did because he was essentially a romantic fellow. 

Assuming you wrote romantic (small caps r) on purpose, I do wholeheartedly agree. But if you actually meant he was a Romantic (all caps R), I do wholeheartedly disagree. No composer who takes into account the audience's response to his music, and tweaks it accordingly, can be said to be a Romantic --- one of the first and foremost tenets of musical Romanticism is "fuck the audience, they're just a bunch of philistines!"



Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChopinBroccoli on July 20, 2019, 09:39:56 AM
Assuming you wrote romantic (small caps r) on purpose, I do wholeheartedly agree. But if you actually meant he was a Romantic (all caps R), I do wholeheartedly disagree. No composer who takes into account the audience's response to his music, and tweaks it accordingly, can be said to be a Romantic --- one of the first and foremost tenets of musical Romanticism is "fuck the audience, they're just a bunch of philistines!"

No, you read it right... small r on purpose  :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on July 20, 2019, 09:41:57 AM
No, you read it right... small r on purpose  :)

Excellent!  8)

I assume from your username that you're a devoted Chopinian* --- eagerly waiting for your corresponding posts.  :)

* I, for one, hate broccoli...  :laugh:
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChopinBroccoli on July 20, 2019, 09:55:08 AM
Excellent!  8)

I assume from your username that you're a devoted Chopinian* --- eagerly waiting for your corresponding posts.  :)

* I, for one, hate broccoli...  :laugh:

Honestly I just chose it as a silly pun for "Chopping Broccoli" ... I considered some other names like "Schumann's Good Hand" for example

I like Chopin, wouldn't say I'm fanatical but I definitely like a lot of his music

As for broccoli, I don't mind it chopped up and properly cooked but I don't love it :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on July 20, 2019, 09:58:46 AM
Honestly I just chose it as a silly pun for "Chopping Broccoli" ...

Jeez, did I misunderstand it big time! Chopin pronounced as chopping, you kiddin' me? :D

Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChopinBroccoli on July 20, 2019, 10:16:11 AM
Jeez, did I misunderstand it big time! Chopin pronounced as chopping, you kiddin' me? :D

Way too literal

Say it like Show-pan Broccoli ... it's merely a play on the resemblance of his surname to the word "Chopping"... the comic effect is in the obvious difference in pronunciation

Jesus
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on July 20, 2019, 11:43:34 AM
Say it like Show-pan Broccoli

Except Chopin in French is nothing like Show-pan.  ;D

Full disclosure: I am not American and I am fluent in French.  ;D
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChopinBroccoli on July 20, 2019, 11:56:13 AM
Except Chopin in French is nothing like Show-pan.  ;D

Full disclosure: I am not American and I am fluent in French.  ;D

Chopin wasn't French though... in an American accent speaking English, his name essentially sounds like "Show Pan"
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan on July 20, 2019, 12:15:46 PM
Chopin wasn't French though...

He was half French.

Quote
in an American accent speaking English, his name essentially sounds like "Show Pan"

Sure, but Anerican English is hardly the way to properly pronounce Chopin, which is a thoroughly French surname. Btw, how does Fryderyk sound in Amnerican English? I bet it''s nothing like it sounds in Polish.


Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChopinBroccoli on July 20, 2019, 12:42:06 PM
He was half French.

Sure, but Anerican English is hardly the way to properly pronounce Chopin, which is a thoroughly French surname. Btw, how does Fryderyk sound in Amnerican English? I bet it''s nothing like it sounds in Polish.

It's immaterial... what does "Gershwin" sound like when a French speaker says it?  Probably a lot different than George himself pronounced it

You're making a giant mountain of a harmless joke you don't get and it is getting very tedious 
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on July 20, 2019, 02:52:46 PM
Chopin wasn't French though...

His father was French, and his name was French, and one generation is not long enough to forget how to pronounce a surname. It takes quite a few for pronunciation to change.

As for the general question of whether it's immaterial, in my view it's not. This actually became a thing with one of the football commentators here in Australia, where people started harassing her about pronunciation of names (and the fact it was a woman is highly likely part of why they thought it was okay to harass her).

The thing was, she was trying to pronounce the names as they were pronounced by the owners of those names. To her it was part of a basic respect for a person to try to get their names right. Those names are not part of the English language, they belong to individuals.

I accept that as an English speaker I will most probably bugger up people's names because the phonology system I'm used to doesn't match. When it comes to Russians, for example (to return to the topic of THIS thread), there will inevitably be problems even spelling the name because I'm using the wrong alphabet.

But I should at least care about pronunication, and not think that it matters so little that I shouldn't even try or that further information shouldn't alter my efforts.

Pronunciation of "Chopin" is a weird mangle where the letter "i" is used in a way that is totally at odds with American English in the first place (or English generally), so English pronunciation is not really a sensible justification. In what other word would anyone contend that the correct pronunciation of "i" is like the "a" in pan? It's really an attempt to match the French version, in which case trying to get closer to the French version seems like quite a good idea.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel on July 20, 2019, 03:12:31 PM
Jeez, did I misunderstand it big time! Chopin pronounced as chopping, you kiddin' me? :D

Not pronounced, but written. Which is indeed the point and is a well established pun in English.

It is possible to get notepads with "Chopin Liszt" written at the top. For your groceries. At least, it was possible when people still wrote things down on paper...
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: George on July 20, 2019, 03:51:36 PM
Honestly I just chose it as a silly pun for "Chopping Broccoli" ...

It was the first thing I thought of when I saw your username:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mXIL_LKvvI
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Andy D. on July 20, 2019, 04:30:25 PM
Assuming you wrote romantic (small caps r) on purpose, I do wholeheartedly agree. But if you actually meant he was a Romantic (all caps R), I do wholeheartedly disagree. No composer who takes into account the audience's response to his music, and tweaks it accordingly, can be said to be a Romantic --- one of the first and foremost tenets of musical Romanticism is "fuck the audience, they're just a bunch of philistines!"
. I actually really like this definition.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChopinBroccoli on July 20, 2019, 05:11:04 PM
It was the first thing I though of when I saw your username:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mXIL_LKvvI

THANK YOU, exactly :)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: aukhawk on July 22, 2019, 02:15:43 AM
His music is often unabashedly romantic and lush which arouses suspicion in the intellectual... no matter...

To reject Rachmaninov on such grounds would be mere intellectual snobbery.

Quote
For me, all 4 Piano Concertos are major works with the 2nd in particular a truly great work that belongs on the short list of the greatest concertos. 
Much of his solo piano music is revelatory and combines his undeniable tunefulness with his grand and powerful technique... the Chopin and Corelli variations offer numerous pleasures as do the sonatas. 
All 3 symphonies have merit, the second is probably the most consistently successful
The Isle of The Dead and the Symphonic Dances are also excellent

No-one's mentioned his All-Night Vigil (aka Vespers) recently - my personal favourite of music by Rachmaninov.  He apparently requested that the 5th movement, which finishes on a wonderful near-infrasonic sung low B-flat, be sung at his own funeral.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/519uKDoBX8L._SX425_.jpg)
The National Academic Choir of Ukraine
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChopinBroccoli on July 22, 2019, 06:42:19 AM
To reject Rachmaninov on such grounds would be mere intellectual snobbery.



Agree completely
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 22, 2019, 08:59:53 AM
. I actually really like this definition.

Certainly, Schumann felt that philistinism was to be combatted, artistically, at any rate.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Cato on July 22, 2019, 10:40:19 AM
To reject Rachmaninov on such grounds would be mere intellectual snobbery.

No-one's mentioned his All-Night Vigil (aka Vespers) recently - my personal favourite of music by Rachmaninov.  He apparently requested that the 5th movement, which finishes on a wonderful near-infrasonic sung low B-flat, be sung at his own funeral.


I recall reading that he wondered about that note, but trusted that Mother Russia had produced men with bass voices capable of reaching it!  $:)
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: North Star 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 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-Night_Vigil_(Rachmaninoff))

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...
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: ChopinBroccoli 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
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vers la flamme 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:

(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/A10301A0000280139I.jpg)

... 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?
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: aukhawk 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.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jo498 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).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty 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.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: aukhawk 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
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan 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.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Irons 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.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: vandermolen 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
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Christo 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
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel 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.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Florestan 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.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jo498 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.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel 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).
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Jo498 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.
Title: Re: Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Post by: Madiel 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...