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
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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