Velikij Novgorod, 1873 – Beverly Hills, 1943

Sergej Vasil’evič Rachmaninov

Another child prodigy, the name Rachmaninov is permanently tied to that famous piece, Prelude in C sharp minor, the second of five Morceaux de Fantaisie op. 3 which he composed at age 20 and which captured the admiration of Tchaikovsky.
Prior to its publication, the author had studied at the Moscow Conservatory and was still unsure as to whether he should devote himself to performing or composing.
The debut of his Symphony no 1 in St. Petersburg in 1895, directed by Glazunov who was clearly not up to form, if not completely drunk (this according to an eye witness and an exceptional student of his, Dmitrij Šostakovič), on the day of his twenty-fourth birthday, did not help to clarify his thinking on it. In fact he resorted to hypnosis therapy with Nikolaj Dahl, to whom the composer dedicated his Concerto for Piano no 2. Still, his fame grew both as orchestra director and composer in Europe and in the United States where he and his family moved to escape from the October Revolution. He died in California in the middle of the Second World War.
Among his most famous compositions noted here are: the four concertos for piano: op.1, op. 18 and op. 30 and 40, many pieces for piano solo, the extraordinarily beautiful Trio elegiaque for piano, violin and cello, op. 9. Rachmaninov also composed three lyric operas, various works for orchestra, sacred music, as well as various lyric pieces for voice and piano.
The film Shine, by Scott Hicks, 1996, made the Concerto for piano no. 3 widely popular in the media.

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