Sergei Rachmaninov


Born: Apr 1, 1873; Russia   Died: Mar 28, 1943; USA   Period: 20th Century
Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninov, born in Semyonovo, Russia, on April 1, 1873, is today remembered as one of the most formidable pianists of all time and the last truly great composer in the Russian Romantic tradition. Rachmaninov came from a music-loving, land-owning family; young Sergey's mother fostered the boy's innate talent by giving him his first piano lessons. After a decline in the family fortunes, the Rachmaninovs moved to St. Petersburg, Read more where Sergei studied with Vladimir Delyansky at the Conservatory. As his star continued to rise, Sergei went to the Moscow Conservatory, where he received a sound musical training: piano lessons from the strict disciplinarian Nikolay Zverev and Alexander Siloti (Rachmaninov's cousin), counterpoint with Taneyev, and harmony with Arensky. During his time at the Conservatory, Rachmaninov boarded with Zverev, whose weekly musical Sundays provided the young musician the valuable opportunity to make important contacts and to hear a wide variety of music.
As Rachmaninov's conservatory studies continued, his burgeoning talent came into full flower; he received the personal encouragement of Tchaikovsky, and, a year after earning a degree in piano, took the Conservatory's gold medal in composition for his opera Aleko (1892). Early setbacks in his compositional career -- particularly, the dismal reception of his Symphony No. 1 (1895) -- led to an extended period of depression and self-doubt, which he overcame with the aid of hypnosis. With the resounding success of his Piano Concerto No. 2 (1900-1901), however, his lasting fame as a composer was assured. The first decade of the twentieth century proved a productive and happy one for Rachmaninov, who during that time produced such masterpieces as the Symphony No. 2 (1907), the tone poem Isle of the Dead (1907), and the Piano Concerto No. 3 (1909). On May 12, 1902, the composer married his cousin, Natalya Satina.
By the end of the decade, Rachmaninov had embarked on his first American tour, which cemented his fame and popularity in the United States. He continued to make his home in Russia but left permanently following the Revolution in 1917; he thereafter lived in Switzerland and the United States between extensive European and American tours. While his tours included conducting engagements (he was twice offered, and twice refused, leadership of the Boston Symphony Orchestra), it was his astounding pianistic abilities which won him his greatest glory. Rachmaninov was possessed of a keyboard technique marked by precision, clarity, and a singular legato sense. Indeed, the pianist's hands became the stuff of legend. He had an enormous span -- he could, with his left hand, play the chord C-E flat-G-C-G -- and his playing had a characteristic power, which pianists have described as "cosmic" and "overwhelming." He is, for example, credited with the uncanny ability to discern, and articulate profound, mysterious movements in a musical composition which usually remain undetected by the superficial perception of rhythmic structures.
Fortunately for posterity, Rachmaninov recorded much of his own music, including the four piano concerti and what is perhaps his most beloved work, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (1934). He became an American citizen a few weeks before his death in Beverly Hills, CA, on March 28, 1943. Read less

Work: Prelude for Piano in G sharp minor, Op. 32 no 12

Browse 101-112 of 112 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Sviatoslav Richter In The 1950s Vol 1
    Label: Parnassus Records   Catalog: 96001/2 Release Date: 01/21/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    CD: $24.49
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  • 102.
    David Helfgott Plays Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No 3, Etc
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 40378 Release Date: 12/17/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  David Helfgott
    Conductor:  Milan Horvat
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Copenhagen Philharmonic
    CD: $9.99
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  • 103.
    Dmitry Paperno Plays Russian Piano Music
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 10/07/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Medtner,  Alexander Scriabin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Anatole Liadov  ... 
    Performer:  Dmitry Paperno
    CD: $11.99
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  • 104.
    Rachmaninov, Scriabin: Piano Works / Faina Lushtak
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2287 Release Date: 08/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Faina Lushtak
    CD: $17.99
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  • 105.
    First Kiss - Romantic Piano Music / Daniel Pollack
    Label: Four Winds   Catalog: 3002 Release Date: 04/09/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Pollack
    CD: $12.99
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  • 106.
    Yablonskaya Plays Rachmaninoff
    Label: Connoisseur Society   Catalog: 4194 Release Date: 12/01/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Oxana Yablonskaya
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  • 107.
    Greatest Hits - Rachmaninov
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64056 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Ruth Laredo,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Emanuel Ax,  Philippe Entremont  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Zubin Mehta,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Lazar Gosman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 108.
    Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No 2, Etc / John Browning
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3044 Release Date: 12/11/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  John Browning
    CD: $17.99
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  • 109.
    Horowitz In Moscow
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419499 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Moritz Moszkowski,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
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  • 110.
    Van Cliburn - A Romantic Collection
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 60414 Release Date: 10/10/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Maurice Ravel,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Van Cliburn
    CD: $8.99
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  • 111.
    The Last Romantic / Vladimir Horowitz
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419045 Release Date: 12/11/1985   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Moritz Moszkowski,  Alexander Scriabin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
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