When listening to the beautiful music that the composer Rachmaninov has written it is difficult perhaps to imagine the suffering that surrounded many of his works. This was to the point where just before the turn of the 19 th century, he was about to give up composing completely. Rachmaninov was born on the first of April Tchaikovsky was one composer who encouraged the young Rachmaninov and gave him the vital momentum he needed to create his first works.
These included the First Piano Concerto in F sharp minor op. These were finished shortly following his graduation from the Moscow Conservatoire. The C sharp Prelude brought Rachmaninov recognition as a young composer but as his career as pianist and composer developed, he came to loathe the piece as at every performance the audience demanded he performs the work before he departed the concert platform. Rachmaninov was not a composer who gave into the disappointment that the performance of his First Symphony brought.
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He sort consolation and indeed inspiration from the well-known Russian author Leo Tolstoy with a view to becoming inspired by his works and his words. Rachmaninov eventually found help for his depression and increasing reliance on cigarettes and alcohol from a Dr Nikolai Dahl. Dahl had come recommended to Rachmaninov and was not only a neurologist but also a fine amateur musician.
As fortune would have it this second concerto turned out to be one of the most popular works Rachmaninov ever wrote and performed. The concerto brought Rachmaninov international recognition and over the years scores of admirers. The Second Concerto comprises of three movements marked as follows: Moderato ; Adagio sostenuto and Allegro scherzando. The scoring for the work is not entirely modest calling for strings, double woodwind, timpani and cymbals together with a full brass section of 2 trumpets , 4 French horns , 3 trombones and a tuba.
Each takes it in turns to accompany and to display the melodic material and produce a glittering concerto. Unlike the Beethoven, Rachmaninov does not begin with the main chord of the piece, C minor. Instead, he opens with an F minor chord that builds in volume, descending towards the home key in bar nine.
The sense of dark drama has begun, and some have even likened the opening to the tolling of bells. Movement one is in essence in standard sonata form with a first and second theme that flow seamlessly into a major development section where each theme is fully explored. It is during the development that I feel we hear a confident and assured Rachmaninov as he leads the two themes through numerous key changes and interactions between the soloist and the orchestra.
Concerto No 2 | Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
The virtuosic display throughout is awe-inspiring and demonstrates the immense gifts Rachmaninov possessed as a pianist. There is little rest of respite in this movement. For the concerto was the very first work which Rachmaninov composed coming out of the three-year-long depression. But then again, towards the end of his life, Rachmaninov said in an interview that when composing, he was only trying to make the music express simply and directly what was in his heart, so perhaps there is truth to such a reading.
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For further information click here. BBC Music Magazine digital editions. Secondary links Competitions What's on Awards Polls. Log in Register. Search Search this site:. Submitted by: Boris Giltburg. Share this article Share. Life of an 19th-century diva. View the discussion thread. Free Newsletter. By clicking on the 'Sign Up!
You can opt-out at any time. James MacMillan discusses his new oratorio. This second theme maintains the motif of the first movement's second theme. After a long period of development tension is built up considerably. Near the end, Rachmaninoff restates the second theme in loud, fortissimo orchestration.
After this a fast, ecstatic and very triumphant coda draws the piece to a close, ending in C major. Carmen first composed the song's interlude, then took the bridge from Rachmaninoff and the chorus from his own " Let's Pretend ". Carmen explained that Rachmaninoff was his "favorite music". The Moderato theme appears in Muse 's song " Space Dementia ". The lyric line "And tear us apart and make us meaningless again" follows exactly Rachmaninoff's melody in the first movement, which is first played by string instruments in the beginning of the movement, and then again by the piano toward the movement's finale.
Piano Concerto No.
Piano Concerto No.2, Op.18 (Rachmaninoff, Sergei)
For his second symphony, see Symphony No. Rachmaninoff in the early s. First eight bars of the concerto. Main theme first played by the two violin sections, viola section and first clarinet.
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Courtesy of Musopen. Rachmaninoff: Life, Works, Recordings.
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Retrieved 27 February The Guardian. The Master Musicians: Rachmaninoff. New York City: Schirmer Books. The Concerto.
Related Piano Concerto No. 2 (Second Theme)
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