A story about Hegel visiting a concert by Sergei Rachmaninoff [To listen to the Elegie in E Flat Minor, please click here ] Better known for his explosive preludes rather than contemplative elegies, Sergei Rachmaninoff was a philosopher of music. Music, according to Hegel, is in the center of the Romantic Arts, along with painting and poetry. Rachmaninoff and his Steinway  transform the indifference of space surrounding the audience, creating a closed-in, self-contained world, in which the mind is invited to explore and reflect. Elegie does not win the listener with a catchy tune; rather, it captivates the heart with a combination of waterfall and airiness, which is masterfully translated into music by the virtuoso technique of the pianist and his genius as a composer.
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He is especially known for his piano concerti and the piece for piano and orchestra titled Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Early life Rachmaninoff was born on an estate belonging to his grandparents, situated near Lake Ilmen in the Novgorod district.
His father was a retired army officer and his mother the daughter of a general. The boy was destined to become an army officer until his father lost the entire family fortune through risky financial ventures and then deserted the family. For his general education and theoretical subjects in music , Sergey became a pupil at the Moscow Conservatory.
His fame and popularity, both as composer and concert pianist, were launched by two compositions: the Prelude in C-sharp Minor, played for the first time in public on September 26, , and his Piano Concerto No.
The former piece, although it first brought Rachmaninoff to public attention, was to haunt him throughout his life—the prelude was constantly requested by his concert audiences. The concerto, his first major success, revived his hopes after a trying period of inactivity. In his youth, Rachmaninoff was subject to emotional crises over the success or failure of his works as well as his personal relationships.
Self-doubt and uncertainty carried him into deep depressions, one of the most severe of which followed the failure, on its first performance in March , of his Symphony No. The symphony was poorly performed, and the critics condemned it. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today Major creative activity At the time of the Russian Revolution of , Rachmaninoff was a conductor at the Bolshoi Theatre. Although more of an observer than a person politically involved in the revolution, he went with his family, in November , to live in Dresden.
There he wrote three of his major scores: the Symphony No. The last was composed especially for his first concert tour of the United States , highlighting his much-acclaimed pianistic debut on November 28, , with the New York Symphony under Walter Damrosch. Piano Concerto No. In Philadelphia and Chicago he appeared with equal success in the role of conductor, interpreting his own symphonic compositions.
Of these, the Symphony No. While touring, he was invited to become permanent conductor of the Boston Symphony, but he declined the offer and returned to Russia in February This work displays considerable ingenuity in the coupling of choral and orchestral resources to produce striking imitative and textural effects. After the Russian Revolution of , Rachmaninoff went into his second self-imposed exile, dividing his time between residences in Switzerland and the United States.
Although for the next 25 years he spent most of his time in an English-speaking country, he never mastered its language or thoroughly acclimatized himself. With his family and a small circle of friends, he lived a rather isolated life.
He missed Russia and the Russian people—the sounding board for his music, as he said. And this alienation had a devastating effect on his formerly prolific creative ability. He produced little of real originality but rewrote some of his earlier work.
Indeed, he devoted himself almost entirely to concertizing in the United States and Europe, a field in which he had few peers. His only substantial works from this period are the Symphony No. He was, in effect, the final expression of the tradition embodied by Tchaikovsky—a melodist of Romantic dimensions still writing in an era of explosive change and experimentation.
Morceaux de fantaisie, Op.3 (Rachmaninoff, Sergei)
Ancestry and early years, —[ edit ] Rachmaninoff at age 10 Rachmaninoff was born into a family of the Russian aristocracy in the Russian Empire. A son named Vasily was nicknamed "Rachmanin", meaning "lazy" in Old Russian. His paternal grandfather, Arkady Alexandrovich, was a musician who had taken lessons from Irish composer John Field. The couple had three sons and three daughters, Sergei being their fourth child. His birth was registered in a church in the latter district  , but he was raised in Oneg until aged nine and he himself cited it as his birthplace in his adult life.
Rachmaninov - Elegia for cello and piano
Op.3 No.1 Elegie