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
Browse 1-17 of 17 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Russian Visionaries: From Glinka to the Firebird
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 164 Release Date: 06/30/2017  
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Mikhail Glinka,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Mily Balakirev  ... 
    Performer:  Erica Morini,  Konstantin Igumnov,  Alfred Hoehn,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Wilhelm Buschkotter,  Issay Dobrowen,  Oskar Fried  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nanyang Polytechnic Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Sergei Rachmaninov: Complete RCA Recordings
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88843073922 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Fritz Kreisler,  Natalie Rachmaninov,  Nadezhda Plevitskaya
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Eugene Ormandy,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Debussy - Le Compositeur Et Ses Interpretes
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 1215 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Claire Croiza,  George Reeves,  Ninon Vallin,  Gustav Cloëz  ... 
    Conductor:  Camille Chevillard,  Pierre Monteux,  Walther Straram,  Arturo Toscanini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Des Concerts Lamoureux,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre Des Concerts Straram  ... 
    CD: $37.49
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  • 4.
    A Century Of Romantic Chopin
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 54001 Release Date: 08/19/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Moritz Rosenthal,  Alfred Cortot,  Rosita Renard,  Sydney Foster  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    CD: $55.49
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  • 5.
    Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff: Solo Works & Transcriptions
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 7766 Release Date: 01/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
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  • 6.
    Breathe - Relaxing Piano For Lovers
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80714 Release Date: 01/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Erik Satie,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Chertock,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  John O'Conor,  Simone Dinnerstein  ... 
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  • 7.
    The Immortal Fritz Kreisler
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 5910 Release Date: 08/22/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Fritz Kreisler,  Ernö von Dohnányi
    Performer:  Fritz Kreisler,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Carl Lamson
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Donald Voorhees
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 8.
    Grieg: Historic Chamber Music Recordings / Budapest Quartet
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61826 Release Date: 07/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg
    Performer:  Fritz Kreisler,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Leopold Mittman,  Mischa Elman
    Conductor:  Serge Koussevitzky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest String Quartet,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Mozart 1756-2006
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1363 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Louis Diémer,  Jules Boucherit,  John Lemmoné,  Ada Sassoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Percy Pitt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beecham Symphony Orchestra,  Léner String Quartet,  Flonzaley String Quartet  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 10.
    The Best Of Chopin
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80629 Release Date: 11/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Malcolm Frager,  Jon Kimura Parker,  John O'Conor,  Yolanda Kondonassis  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 11.
    Essential Rachmaninoff - 15 Of His Greatest Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470457 Release Date: 01/15/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Fritz Kreisler
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber,  John Lenehan,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Rafael Orozco  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Nikolai Korniev,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Edo de Waart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Chamber Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    J. Strauss Ii: Transcriptions & Paraphrases For Solo Piano
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 5540 Release Date: 11/23/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Otto Schulhof,  Adolf Schulz-Evler,  Leopold Godowsky  ... 
    Performer:  Ernö von Dohnányi,  Stanislas Niedzielski,  Otto Schulhof,  Louis Kentner  ... 
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  • 13.
    A Window In Time - Rachmaninoff Performs Bach, Chopin, Et Al
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80491 Release Date: 03/23/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Schubert,  Anton Rubinstein,  Ignace Jan Paderewski  ... 
    Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    A Window In Time- Rachmaninoff Performs His Solo Piano Works
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80489 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stafford Smith,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
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  • 15.
    J Strauss Jr: Virtuoso Piano Transcriptions
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1019 Release Date: 04/08/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adolf Schulz-Evler,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Leopold Godowsky
    Performer:  Josef Lhévinne,  Moritz Rosenthal,  David Saperton,  Benno Moiseiwitsch  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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  • 16.
    Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff - The 4 Piano Concertos, Etc
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61658 Release Date: 08/16/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    Rachmaninov Plays Rachmaninov - Ampico Recordings (1919-29)
    Label: London/Decca Historic Series   Catalog: 425964 Release Date: 03/30/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    CD: $15.99
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