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SERGEI RACHMANINOFF PLAYS



On this page, Rachmaninoff plays the music of other great composers.  Here you will hear works by composers as diverse as Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Scriabin.  We have the opportunity to study his playing of piano music written in styles very different from his own and each other.  Here we really put to the test his ability as an interpreter of other composers.

I do not include his playing of Chopin in this category and dedicate to it a page of its own simply because Chopin's music, while from a time almost 100 years earlier, is so pianistic in nature that it is born of the piano as is Rachmaninoff's own piano music.  Attempts to Orcestrate it, while a few have been successful, lose the pianistic essence of Chopin in the process.

Of particular interest are Rachmaninoff's approaches to the "Harmonious Blacksmith" and the Gluck transcription of the "Melody" from Orfeo.  Both are exquisitely and beautifully played, very romantic, and not at all in the historical style of the music.  Works for me, though!

The way Rachmaninoff plays the "Turkish March" is unlike any I have ever heard.  Typically pianists go wild over the marching drum beat as though they want to make absolutely certain of our we taking note of it.  Rachmaninoff plays it with a classical restraint to wonderful effect, a case of less is more to be sure.

It is interesting to note the similarities between the Moszkowski etude and the Chopin "Butterfly" etude.  But perhaps most interesting to me is his performance of the Schubert impromptu which has little of the Schubert I know and love in it.  And, of course, Rachmaninoff plays Schumann's "Carnaval" which he considered to be one of the two or three greatest works for piano ever penned.

Finally, several works for violin and piano performed by Rachmaninoff and Fritz Kreisler.



Daquin  "Le Coucou" from Premier Livre de Pièces: Troisième Suite

recorded in 1920




Bach  "Sarabande" from Partita 4, BWV 828

recorded in 1925




Handel  "The Harmonious Blacksmith" Air and Variations




Bach  Partita for Violin Solo 3 in E major, BWV 1006
iii Gavotte en Rondeau




Scarlatti-Tausig-Rachmaninov  "Pastorale" from Sonata in D minor, L 413

recorded in 1919




Gluck-Sgambati  "Melody" Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Orfeo ed Euridice, Act II




Mozart  Piano Sonata 11 in A major, K 331


i Andante grazioso (Theme and variations)
1919 Edison recording



i Andante grazioso (Theme and variations)
somewhat later



iii Rondo alla Turca




Beethoven-Anton Rubinstein  "Turkish March" in B major
from The Ruins of Athens, Op 113

recorded in 1925




Schubert  Impromptu in A major, Op 90~4, D 899




Schubert-Liszt  "Ständchen"

recorded in 1942




Mendelssohn  Etude, Op 104b~3

recorded in 1927




Mendelssohn  Scherzo from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"




Mendelssohn "Spinning Song"

recorded in 1928




Schumann  "Carnaval" Op 9


Part I
1 Préambule - 2 Pierrot - 3 Arlequin - 4 Valse noble - 5 Eusebius
6 Florestan - 7 Coquette - 8 Réplique - Sphinxes - 9 Papillons



Part II
10 A.S.C.H. - S.C.H.A: Lettres Dansantes - 11 Chiarina - 12 Chopin - 13 Estrella
14 Reconnaissance - 15 Pantalon et Colombine - 16 Valse Allemande
Intermezzo: Paganini



Part III
17 Aveu - 18 Promenade - 19 Pause - 20 Marche des "Davidsbündler" contre les Philistins




Schumann  "Der Contrabandist"




Liszt  "Gnomenreigen" from Deux Études de concert

recorded in 1925




Liszt  Polonaise 2 in E major




Liszt  Hungarian Rhapsody 2




von Henselt  6 "Si Oiseau J'étais" from Étude caracteristiques, Op 2




Johann Strauss  "Man Lebt Nur Einmal" Waltz, Op 167




Rubinstein  Barcarolle 5, Op 93~7




Saint-Saens - Siloti  "The Swan", 13 from Carnival of the Animals

recorded in 1924




Bizet  Menuet from L'Arlésienne Suite 1

recorded in 1922




Borodin  Scherzo in A major

recorded in 1935




Tchaikovsky  Lullaby, Op 16




Rimsky-Korsakoff - Rachmaninoff  "Flight of the Bumblebee"

piano roll




Moszkowski  Etude, Op 52~4 "Jongleuse"




Paderewski  Minuet in G major, Op 14~1 from Humoresques de Concert



and as performed by Paderewski in 1937




Scriabin  Étude in D minor, Op 8~12




Kreisler-Rachmaninoff  "Liebesfreud"

recorded in 1925



recorded in 1942




Fritz Kreisler and Sergei Rachmaninoff play violin sonatas

Beethoven  Sonata 8 in G major for violin and piano , Op 30~3
i Allegro assai
4:35ii Tempo di minuetto, ma molto moderato e grazioso
11:56iii Allegro vivace

Schubert  Sonata for violin and piano in A Major, Op 162, D 574
15:20
i Allegro moderato
21:30ii Scherzo: Presto
25:44iii Andantino
29:38iv Allegro vivace

Grieg  Sonata 3 in C minor for violin and piano, Op 45
34:37i Allegro molto ed appassionato
43:20 ii Allegretto espressivo alla romanza
49:43 ➢ iii Allegretto animato










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



Follow these links to our main subject categories

Or return to the Sergei Rachmaninoff page



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