My favorite and greatest pianist: Sergei Rachmaninoff

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I might enjoy certain contemporary sounds but let us not forget who the true masters are. I started playing the piano since I was a kid so inevitably my taste in music has been shaped by the classical-romantic composers. Rachmaninoff is one of my favorites. His music is painfully hard for me and most pianists to play (I can play the Largo part of Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 still) thus I only enjoy him by listening to great performers, like Richter, Rubistein, Gilels, Horowitz and some new ones like Ashkenazy and Lugansky. The Ampico piano rolls and RCA Victor is as close we can get to Rachmaninoff as possible. I have tried to restrict myself on 10 pieces but more than one versions for the sake of variety of interpretation.

Interesting trivia to know about the composer:

  • He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory
  • After the Russian Revolution he had resided in the US
  • He had been though depression and recovered
  • He had unparallel memory, he could listen to any piece of music and play it back any time in the future as long as he liked it
  • He had huge hands, he could play C E G C G with his left hand. He was huge generally, between 6’3″ to 6’6″.

My collection goes as follows, although I would strongly suggest you listen to the complete 24 Preludes, covering all major/minor keys Op. 3 No. 2, Op. 23 and Op. 32:

  1. Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3: No. 1 Élégie in E flat minor (1892)
    1. Ampico piano rolls
    2. Pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy
    3. Pianist Andrei Gavrilov
    4. Pianist Nikolai Lugansky
  2. Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3: No. 2 Prélude in C♯ minor (1892)
    1. Ampico piano rolls
    2. Pianist Emil Gilels
    3. Pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy
    4. Pianist Nikolai Lugansky
    5. Pianist Evgeny Kissin
    6. Pianist Lars Roos
  3. 6 moments musicaux, Op. 16: No. 4 in E minor: Presto  (1896)
    1. Pianist Andrei Gavrilov
    2. Pianist Nikolai Lugansky
  4. Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op. 18:  I. Moderato (1901)
    1. RCA Victor and the Philadelphia Orchestra
    2. Pianist Sviatoslav Richter and the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (whole)
    3. Pianist Arthur Rubinstein and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    4. Pianist Nikolai Lugansky and the Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra (whole)
  5. 10 Préludes, Op. 23: No. 5. in G minor: Alla Marcia (1903)
    1. Pianist Emil Gilels
    2. Pianist Nikolai Lugansky
    3. Pianist Nikolai Berezovsky
    4. Pianist Valentina Lisitsa
  6. 13 Préludes, Op. 32: No. 12 in G♯ minor: Allegro (1910)
    1. Pianist Sviatoslav Richter
    2. Pianist Vladinir Horowitz
    3. Pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy
    4. Pianist Nikolai Lugansky
  7. Études-Tableaux, Op.33: No. 5 in D minor: Moderato (1911)
    1. Pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy
    2. Pianist Nikolai Lugansky
  8. Études-Tableaux, Op.39: No. 5 in E minor: Appassionato (1916)
    1. Pianist Vladinir Horowitz
    2. Pianist Emil Gilels
    3. Pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy
    4. Pianist Nikolai Lugansky
  9. Piano Sonata No.2 in B minor, Op. 36: I. Allegro Agitato (1913 but revised 1931)
    1. Pianist Vladinir Horowitz (whole)
    2. Pianist Denis Matsuev (whole)
  10. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini: Variation 18 in D major: Andante cantabile  (1934)
    1. Pianist Arthur Rubinstein and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    2. Pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy and the London Symphony Orchestra (whole)

Α.Δ.

About Apolytos Diallaktikos

Hi, I'm Karlos and this is my personal, bilingual blog. I see it as a way of holding a public calendar with all the hidden or not-so-hidden gems I discover, as a mean of sharing my inner thoughts, poems, songs, books, films. Originally from Thessaloniki, Greece and currently at UT Austin, Texas.
This entry was posted in English, Music, Review. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to My favorite and greatest pianist: Sergei Rachmaninoff

  1. inesephoto says:

    He had huge hands indeed, and he sometimes wrote for huge hands 🙂 One of my most beloved composers.

  2. Aishwarya says:

    Hi…thanks for visiting and following my blog.
    Piano..an instrument I wish I could play! I haven’t heard the gears of the western world but through your post, I’ve got an inspiration and I will blue know whom to listen to. Thanks for the wonderful post! Cheers ^_^

  3. Omg! I love him, too.
    You must be great! Don’t you have anything like an audio/video of you playing that you wish to share here so we can listen or watch? Hope you can post it someday. 🙂

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