Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)

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0120151005

012015100520170327 (R3)

This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a student work he revisited nearly three decades later: his First Piano Concerto.

Sergey Rachmaninov's childhood was hardly typical. Born into a wealthy family with significant estates, his comfortable nine-year-old life was disrupted by his feckless father's financial collapse. The estates were sold off and the family moved to St Petersburg, but unsurprisingly his parents' marriage buckled under the strain and they separated. When Rachmaninov, now 12 and already a talented pianist, failed his school exams he was packed off to Moscow to be a live-in piano student of the aristocratic and authoritarian Nikolay Zverev, who had young Sergey and two fellow victims practising from six in the morning. In time Rachmaninov progressed to the Moscow Conservatoire and fell out with Zverev - but luckily in the meantime he had fallen in with his cousins, the Satins, whose country estate at Ivanovka, 18 hours by train from Moscow, became first a haven then a home, and the place where Rachmaninov would compose most of his music. His First Piano Concerto was one of the earliest pieces he wrote there - and it was also one of the last he wrote before leaving Russia for good 26 years later. As he said at the time, "I have rewritten my First Concerto; it is really good now. All the youthful freshness is there, and yet it plays itself so much more easily."

Etude-tableau in A minor, Op 39 No 6

Sergey Rachmaninov, piano

Canon in E minor

Song without Words in D minor

Fugue in D minor (ed V Antipov)

Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

Trio élégiaque No 1 in G minor

Beaux Arts Trio

Piano Concerto No 1 in F sharp minor, Op 1

Krystian Zimerman, piano

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Seiji Ozawa, conductor

Producer: Chris Barstow.

Donald Macleod discusses Rachmaninov's vibrant First Piano Concerto.

Donald Macleod discusses Rachmaninov's vibrant First Piano Concerto.

01*2009020220110404

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Sergei Rachmaninov, focusing on the composer as a teenager in love, his recognition from Tchaikovsky when aged 20 for his first orchestral piece, and the disastrous premiere of his First Symphony.

It was conducted by an inebriated Glazunov and dubbed fit 'for the inmates of Hell' by Cesar Cui.

Valse, for piano six hands (1890)

  • cd 1 track 12

    romance, for piano 6 hands (1891)

  • ingryd thorson and julian thurber with david gardiner
  • paula pacd 46 dbl

    donald macleod focuses on the positive reception for rachmaninov's first orchestral piece.

    in this week's edition of composer of the week, donald macleod explores the life and music of sergei rachmaninov.

    people outside of the composer's immediate circle were apt to find him somewhat morose, but he had plenty to be morose about.

    he was born into a land-owning aristocratic family at precisely the wrong moment in russian history.

    he lived and worked through the turbulent years of the early twentieth century, culminating, in 1917, in the abdication of the tsar, the october revolution and the rise of the bolsheviks - rachmaninov's cue to leave russia, with his wife and two daughters, a couple of suitcases and what little cash he had been able to lay his hands on.

    for the remaining twenty-five years of his life he pursued an extraordinarily successful career as an international concert pianist and recording artist, fêted as one of the leading virtuosos of his or any other day.

    but despite this he continued to regard himself as a refugee from the homeland he would never again set foot in.

    monday's programme is set in less troubled times, eavesdropping on the teenage composer in love; the 20-year-old winning recognition from no less than tchaikovsky for his first orchestral piece; and then, just a few years later, the disastrous première of his 1st symphony, conducted by an inebriated glazunov and dubbed fit 'for the inmates of hell' by the bile-filled pen of csar cui

  • 01012015100520170327 (R3)

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a student work he revisited nearly three decades later: his First Piano Concerto.

    Sergey Rachmaninov's childhood was hardly typical. Born into a wealthy family with significant estates, his comfortable nine-year-old life was disrupted by his feckless father's financial collapse. The estates were sold off and the family moved to St Petersburg, but unsurprisingly his parents' marriage buckled under the strain and they separated. When Rachmaninov, now 12 and already a talented pianist, failed his school exams he was packed off to Moscow to be a live-in piano student of the aristocratic and authoritarian Nikolay Zverev, who had young Sergey and two fellow victims practising from six in the morning. In time Rachmaninov progressed to the Moscow Conservatoire and fell out with Zverev - but luckily in the meantime he had fallen in with his cousins, the Satins, whose country estate at Ivanovka, 18 hours by train from Moscow, became first a haven then a home, and the place where Rachmaninov would compose most of his music. His First Piano Concerto was one of the earliest pieces he wrote there - and it was also one of the last he wrote before leaving Russia for good 26 years later. As he said at the time, "I have rewritten my First Concerto; it is really good now. All the youthful freshness is there, and yet it plays itself so much more easily."

    Etude-tableau in A minor, Op 39 No 6

    Sergey Rachmaninov, piano

    Canon in E minor

    Song without Words in D minor

    Fugue in D minor (ed V Antipov)

    Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

    Trio élégiaque No 1 in G minor

    Beaux Arts Trio

    Piano Concerto No 1 in F sharp minor, Op 1

    Krystian Zimerman, piano

    Boston Symphony Orchestra

    Seiji Ozawa, conductor

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    Donald Macleod discusses Rachmaninov's vibrant First Piano Concerto.

    01Beginnings20151005

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a student work he revisited nearly three decades later: his First Piano Concerto.

    Sergey Rachmaninov's childhood was hardly typical. Born into a wealthy family with significant estates, his comfortable nine-year-old life was disrupted by his feckless father's financial collapse. The estates were sold off and the family moved to St Petersburg, but unsurprisingly his parents' marriage buckled under the strain and they separated. When Rachmaninov, now 12 and already a talented pianist, failed his school exams he was packed off to Moscow to be a live-in piano student of the aristocratic and authoritarian Nikolay Zverev, who had young Sergey and two fellow victims practising from six in the morning. In time Rachmaninov progressed to the Moscow Conservatoire and fell out with Zverev - but luckily in the meantime he had fallen in with his cousins, the Satins, whose country estate at Ivanovka, 18 hours by train from Moscow, became first a haven then a home, and the place where Rachmaninov would compose most of his music. His First Piano Concerto was one of the earliest pieces he wrote there - and it was also one of the last he wrote before leaving Russia for good 26 years later. As he said at the time, "I have rewritten my First Concerto; it is really good now. All the youthful freshness is there, and yet it plays itself so much more easily."

    Etude-tableau in A minor, Op 39 No 6

    Sergey Rachmaninov, piano

    Canon in E minor

    Song without Words in D minor

    Fugue in D minor (ed V Antipov)

    Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

    Trio élégiaque No 1 in G minor

    Beaux Arts Trio

    Piano Concerto No 1 in F sharp minor, Op 1

    Krystian Zimerman, piano

    Boston Symphony Orchestra

    Seiji Ozawa, conductor

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    01Beginnings20151005

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a student work he revisited nearly three decades later: his First Piano Concerto.

    Sergey Rachmaninov's childhood was hardly typical. Born into a wealthy family with significant estates, his comfortable nine-year-old life was disrupted by his feckless father's financial collapse. The estates were sold off and the family moved to St Petersburg, but unsurprisingly his parents' marriage buckled under the strain and they separated. When Rachmaninov, now 12 and already a talented pianist, failed his school exams he was packed off to Moscow to be a live-in piano student of the aristocratic and authoritarian Nikolay Zverev, who had young Sergey and two fellow victims practising from six in the morning. In time Rachmaninov progressed to the Moscow Conservatoire and fell out with Zverev - but luckily in the meantime he had fallen in with his cousins, the Satins, whose country estate at Ivanovka, 18 hours by train from Moscow, became first a haven then a home, and the place where Rachmaninov would compose most of his music. His First Piano Concerto was one of the earliest pieces he wrote there - and it was also one of the last he wrote before leaving Russia for good 26 years later. As he said at the time, "I have rewritten my First Concerto; it is really good now. All the youthful freshness is there, and yet it plays itself so much more easily."

    Etude-tableau in A minor, Op 39 No 6

    Sergey Rachmaninov, piano

    Canon in E minor

    Song without Words in D minor

    Fugue in D minor (ed V Antipov)

    Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

    Trio élégiaque No 1 in G minor

    Beaux Arts Trio

    Piano Concerto No 1 in F sharp minor, Op 1

    Krystian Zimerman, piano

    Boston Symphony Orchestra

    Seiji Ozawa, conductor

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    Donald Macleod discusses Rachmaninov's vibrant First Piano Concerto.

    01Early Life20071008

    Rachmaninov was born into a musical family.

    His grandfather had studied with John Field and would sit most mornings playing pieces by Chopin, Mendelssohn and Field.

    Initially, his family were well off, with extensive property holdings in North Western Russia, but by the 1880s, their finances were in such a dire state that the family had to sell up and move to a cramped flat in St Petersburg.

    It was there that Sergei Rachmaninov's musical path began in earnest when, at the age of ten, he won a scholarship to the St Petersburg Conservatory.

    Prelude in C sharp minor, Op 3, No 2

    Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)

    Piano Concerto No 1 (1st mvt)

    Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

    Bernard Haitink (conductor)

    Aleko's Cavatina (Aleko)

    Maria Guleghina (soprano)

    Sergei Leiferkus (baritone)

    Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

    Neeme Jarvi (conductor)

    Piano Trio No 2 in D minor (1st mvt)

    The Borodin Trio

    Rachmaninov was born into a musical family.

    His grandfather had studied with John Field and would sit most mornings playing pieces by Chopin, Mendelssohn and Field.

    Initially, his family were well off, with extensive property holdings in North Western Russia, but by the 1880s, their finances were in such a dire state that the family had to sell up and move to a cramped flat in St Petersburg.

    It was there that Sergei Rachmaninov's musical path began in earnest when, at the age of ten, he won a scholarship to the St Petersburg Conservatory.

    Prelude in C sharp minor, Op 3, No 2

    Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)

    Piano Concerto No 1 (1st mvt)

    Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

    Bernard Haitink (conductor)

    Aleko's Cavatina (Aleko)

    Maria Guleghina (soprano)

    Sergei Leiferkus (baritone)

    Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

    Neeme Jarvi (conductor)

    Piano Trio No 2 in D minor (1st mvt)

    The Borodin Trio

    02*2009020320110405

    Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Sergei Rachmaninov and concentrates on his three-year creative block.

    The composer visited his hero Tolstoy hoping for a pep talk, but instead found what he called 'a thoroughly disagreeable man'.

    Eventually he got back on track with the help of a noted Moscow hypnotist, Dr Dahl, who managed to rouse him from his lethargy.

    He subsequently produced works that include his opera Francesca da Rimini, the Second Piano Concerto - one of his most enduringly popular works - and the Cello Sonata.

    Morceau de fantaisie in G minor (1899)

  • Gianandrea Noseda (conductor)
  • andrew litton (conductor)
  • bbc philharmonic
  • bbc singers
  • cd 2 track 1

    sonata in g minor for cello and piano, op 9 (1901) - 3rd, 4th mvts

  • chandos chan 10442
  • dallas symphony orchestra
  • daniil shafran (cello)
  • francesca....svetla vassileva
  • howard shelley (piano)
  • hyperion cda67501/2
  • hyperion cds44043
  • paolo....misha didyk
  • revelation rv 10017, tracks 3, 4.

    Donald Macleod explores rachmaninov's three-year creative block

  • stephen betteridge (chorus master)
  • stephen hough (piano)
  • track 4

    francesca da rimini, op 25 (1900, 1904-5) - sc 2; epilogue

  • ttracks 8-10

    piano concerto no 2 in c minor, op 18 (1900-01) - 1st mvt

  • yakov flyer (piano)

    donald macleod explores rachmaninov's three-year creative block.

    in this week's edition of composer of the week, donald macleod explores the life and music of sergei rachmaninov.

    in tuesday's programme, rachmaninov hits a three-year creative roadblock.

    he visits his hero tolstoy hoping for a pep talk, but instead finds a 'thoroughly disagreeable man'.

    eventually he gets back on track with the help of a noted moscow hypnotist, dr dahl, who manages to snap him out of his lethargy.

    then the floodgates opened - the results included his opera francesca da rimini, the 2nd piano concerto, one of his most enduringly popular works, and the cello sonata - donald macleod introduces extracts from all of these

  • 02Back from the Brink20151006

    02Back From The Brink20151006

    Donald Macleod discusses the work that brought him global fame: his Second Piano Concerto.

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, the work that brought him global fame: his Second Piano Concerto.

    In March 1897, what should have been a triumphant occasion for Rachmaninov - the première of his First Symphony - turned into an unmitigated catastrophe. An under-rehearsed orchestra under the baton of a poor and, according to some accounts, inebriated conductor was enough to disadvantage the work so seriously that its composer was plunged into silence for the next three years. An encounter with the novelist Tolstoy was arranged, in the rather surprising hope that the surly old curmudgeon might be able to set the diffident young composer back on track. After that failed, the services of Dr Nikolai Dahl, a music-loving hypnotherapist, were called upon. Whatever Dahl did, it did the trick, and Rachmaninov's writer's block was spectacularly broken with his Second Piano Concerto, which quickly became a major international success.

    Morceau de fantaisie in G minor

    Fughetta in F

    Howard Shelley, piano

    Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18

    Sviatoslav Richter, piano

    Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

    Stanislaw Wislocki, conductor

    Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 19; 3rd mvt, Andante

    Leonard Elschenbroich, cello

    Alexei Grynyuk, piano

    Suite No 2 for two pianos, Op 17; 4th mvt, Tarantella

    Martha Argerich, Gabriela Montero, pianos

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    02Back from the Brink2015100620170328 (R3)

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, the work that brought him global fame: his Second Piano Concerto.

    In March 1897, what should have been a triumphant occasion for Rachmaninov - the première of his First Symphony - turned into an unmitigated catastrophe. An under-rehearsed orchestra under the baton of a poor and, according to some accounts, inebriated conductor was enough to disadvantage the work so seriously that its composer was plunged into silence for the next three years. An encounter with the novelist Tolstoy was arranged, in the rather surprising hope that the surly old curmudgeon might be able to set the diffident young composer back on track. After that failed, the services of Dr Nikolai Dahl, a music-loving hypnotherapist, were called upon. Whatever Dahl did, it did the trick, and Rachmaninov's writer's block was spectacularly broken with his Second Piano Concerto, which quickly became a major international success.

    Morceau de fantaisie in G minor

    Fughetta in F

    Howard Shelley, piano

    Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18

    Sviatoslav Richter, piano

    Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

    Stanislaw Wislocki, conductor

    Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 19; 3rd mvt, Andante

    Leonard Elschenbroich, cello

    Alexei Grynyuk, piano

    Suite No 2 for two pianos, Op 17; 4th mvt, Tarantella

    Martha Argerich, Gabriela Montero, pianos

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, the work that brought him global fame: his Second Piano Concerto.

    In March 1897, what should have been a triumphant occasion for Rachmaninov - the première of his First Symphony - turned into an unmitigated catastrophe. An under-rehearsed orchestra under the baton of a poor and, according to some accounts, inebriated conductor was enough to disadvantage the work so seriously that its composer was plunged into silence for the next three years. An encounter with the novelist Tolstoy was arranged, in the rather surprising hope that the surly old curmudgeon might be able to set the diffident young composer back on track. After that failed, the services of Dr Nikolai Dahl, a music-loving hypnotherapist, were called upon. Whatever Dahl did, it did the trick, and Rachmaninov's writer's block was spectacularly broken with his Second Piano Concerto, which quickly became a major international success.

    Morceau de fantaisie in G minor

    Fughetta in F

    Howard Shelley, piano

    Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18

    Sviatoslav Richter, piano

    Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

    Stanislaw Wislocki, conductor

    Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 19; 3rd mvt, Andante

    Leonard Elschenbroich, cello

    Alexei Grynyuk, piano

    Suite No 2 for two pianos, Op 17; 4th mvt, Tarantella

    Martha Argerich, Gabriela Montero, pianos

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    Exploring the work that brought Rachmaninov global fame: his Second Piano Concerto.

    Donald Macleod discusses the work that brought him global fame: his Second Piano Concerto.

    02Back From The Brink2015100620170328 (R3)

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, the work that brought him global fame: his Second Piano Concerto.

    In March 1897, what should have been a triumphant occasion for Rachmaninov - the première of his First Symphony - turned into an unmitigated catastrophe. An under-rehearsed orchestra under the baton of a poor and, according to some accounts, inebriated conductor was enough to disadvantage the work so seriously that its composer was plunged into silence for the next three years. An encounter with the novelist Tolstoy was arranged, in the rather surprising hope that the surly old curmudgeon might be able to set the diffident young composer back on track. After that failed, the services of Dr Nikolai Dahl, a music-loving hypnotherapist, were called upon. Whatever Dahl did, it did the trick, and Rachmaninov's writer's block was spectacularly broken with his Second Piano Concerto, which quickly became a major international success.

    Morceau de fantaisie in G minor

    Fughetta in F

    Howard Shelley, piano

    Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18

    Sviatoslav Richter, piano

    Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

    Stanislaw Wislocki, conductor

    Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 19; 3rd mvt, Andante

    Leonard Elschenbroich, cello

    Alexei Grynyuk, piano

    Suite No 2 for two pianos, Op 17; 4th mvt, Tarantella

    Martha Argerich, Gabriela Montero, pianos

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    Exploring the work that brought Rachmaninov global fame: his Second Piano Concerto.

    02The Young Artist20071009

    Following the success of his one act student opera Aleko, and his graduation from the Moscow Conservatory, in 1892 Rachmaninov embarked upon a career as a composer.

    Initially he was forced to take on teaching jobs to supplement his income and write some money-spinning piano works, but gradually he was offered more perfomances of his music.

    But in 1897, the critics savaged the disastrous premiere of his First Symphony.

    The experience devastated Rachmaninov who was then unable to compose anything for the next two years.

    The Chorus of Spirits

    Russian State Symphonic Cappella

    Nye poy krasaavitsa, pri mnye (Do not sing to me fair maiden, Op 4 No 4)

    Alexandre Naoumenko (tenor)

    Howard Shelley (piano)

    Cello Sonata (2nd mvt)

    Moray Welsh (cello)

    Martin Roscoe (piano)

    Spring

    Tigram Martyrosyan (bass)

    Russian State Symphonic Capella

    Russian State Symphony Orchestra

    Valery Polyansky (conductor)

    Second Symphony (slow mvt)

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Kurt Sanderling (conductor)

    Were you hiccupping, Natasha?

    Sergei Leiferkus (bass)

    032009020420110406

    Donald Macleod on Rachmaninov decamping to Dresden to escape the Russian Revolution.

    In this week's edition of Composer of the Week, Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Sergei Rachmaninov.

    Wednesday's programme sees Rachmaninov and his family decamping first to Italy, then to Dresden, to escape the turmoil of the 1905 Revolution.

    His time in the Saxon capital doesn't sound like much of a ball - as the composer wrote to a friend, "We live here like hermits: we see nobody, we know nobody, and we go nowhere." Donald Macleod introduces two of Rachmaninov's songs and a complete performance of his 2nd Symphony, given a mixed reception at its première but now a firm concert-hall favourite.

    Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Sergei Rachmaninov.

    He looks at Rachmaninov and his family decamping first to Italy, and then to Dresden, to escape the turmoil of the 1905 Russian Revolution, where they endured an isolated existence.

    The programme includes two of Rachmaninov's songs and a complete performance of his Second Symphony, given a mixed reception at its premiere but now a firm concert hall favourite.

    Polka italienne, for piano four hands

  • cd 1 track 14

    15 songs, op 26 (1906) - excerpts

  • cd 1 tracks 1-4.

    Donald Macleod on rachmaninov decamping to dresden to escape the russian revolution

  • chandos chan 9451
  • eugene ormandy (conductor)
  • howard shelley (piano)
  • ingryd thorson, julian thurber (piano)
  • joan rodgers (soprano)
  • maria popescu (mezzo-soprano)
  • paula pacd 46 dbl
  • philadelphia orchestra
  • sony sb2k 63257
  • tracks 16, 24

    symphony no 2 in e minor, op 27 (1906-7)

  • 03A Spiritual Homeland20071010

    In common with his countrymen Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, Rachmaninov drew on the music of the Russian Orthodox Church as well as the diverse range of folk music encompassed by the vast lands of Russia.

    Praise God in the Heavens (The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31)

    Sofia Orthodox Choir

    Miroslav Popsavov (conductor)

    All Night Vigil (excerpt)

    St Petersburg Chamber Choir

    Nikolai Korniev (conductor)

    Easter (Suite No 1 for two pianos, Op 5)

    Andre Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy (pianos)

    The Bells, Op 35

    Alexandrina Pendachanska (soprano)

    Kaludi Kaludov (tenor)

    Sergei Leiferkus (baritone)

    Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia

    Philadelphia Orchestra

    Charles Dutoit (conductor)

    03The New World2015100720170329 (R3)

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, his epic and fiendishly difficult Third Piano Concerto.

    Rachmaninov's songs are probably the least-known part of his output, but they're well worth exploring. The Opus 26 set was written at the behest of Mariya Kerzina, who with her wealthy lawyer husband Arkady founded the 'Circle of Russian Music Lovers in Moscow', which grew into an important and influential sponsor of new music in the first decade of the 20th century. By the time he wrote that set of songs, Rachmaninov was, like everyone else, becoming increasingly disturbed by the political unrest he could see all around him. In 1906 he took his family on an extended break in Italy in the hope that things at home might begin to settle down again. An invitation to tour America offered a further reason to stay away but for the moment, family illness prevented him from accepting. Three years later, when a second invitation came his way, he said yes. He wrote his Third Piano Concerto specially for that tour. The response was respectful rather than ecstatic, although the second performance, under the baton of none other than Gustav Mahler, prompted a warmer response from the critics. Only when Vladimir Horowitz took up the concerto in the 1930s did it begin to achieve its current popularity in the concert hall.

    'All was taken from me', Op 26 No 2

    Rodion Pogossov, baritone

    Iain Burnside, piano

    Fifteen Songs, Op 26

    - No 1, 'The heart's secret'

    - No 3, 'We shall rest'

    - No 10, 'At my window'

    - No 15, 'Everything passes'

    Justina Gringyte, mezzo-soprano (1)

    Alexander Vinogradov, bass (3)

    Ekaterina Siurina, soprano (10)

    Andrei Bondarenko, baritone (15)

    Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 30

    Van Cliburn, piano

    Symphony of the Air

    Kirill Kondrashin, conductor

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    Kiril Kondrashin, conductor

    Donald Macleod discusses Rachmaninov's epic and fiendishly difficult Third Piano Concerto.

    04*2009020520110407

    Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov's life and work.

    He focuses on Rachmaninov's life-long friendship with Russian bass Fyodor Chaliapin, and the composer's first concert tour of America.

    There he performed his specially-written Third Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by their new music director Gustav Mahler.

    In the Soul of Each of Us (14 Songs, op 34 - 1912)

    Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov's friendship with Russian bass Fyodor Chaliapin.

    In this week's edition of Composer of the Week, Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Sergei Rachmaninov.

    Thursday's programme looks at Rachmaninov's life-long friendship with the famous Russian bass Fyodor Chaliapin, and sees the composer on his first concert tour of America, where he performed his specially-written 3rd Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic conducted by their new Music Director, Gustav Mahler.

    Back in Russia, Rachmaninov, evidently a bit of a speed-freak, bought a new car, a Loreley, but he would only have a few years to enjoy it -it was destined, perhaps, to become the proud possession of some Bolshevik bigwig.

    Donald Macleod introduces extracts from three of the last works Rachmaninov composed on Russian soil.

    04Flight20151008
    04Flight20151008

    04Flight20151008

    Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 4.

    04Flight2015100820170330 (R3)

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a work that failed to reflect the spirit of its time: his Fourth Piano Concerto.

    Sergey Rachmaninov spent the first two-thirds of his life in Russia. In the fateful year of 1917, at the age of 44, he realized that he must now uproot himself and his family and flee abroad. Someone from his landowning background would not have fared well under the new regime - perhaps he wouldn't have survived at all. As luck would have it he received an invitation to play a concert in Stockholm in the new year, and despite the chaos at home he managed to get permission from the authorities to travel.

    He made the journey with his family, taking only what could be carried in their luggage. They made the final leg, across the Swedish border, in an open sled during a blizzard, arriving in Stockholm on Christmas Eve. Stockholm, however, was to be only a temporary resting-place. Some years earlier he had undertaken a concert tour of America, and now he decided that America was where he had the best chance of carving out a living as a concert pianist. Before the year was done, the Rachmaninovs were chugging across the Atlantic on a Norwegian steamer, arriving in New York almost a year after they had fled Russia.

    Rachmaninov's first American work was the ill-fated Fourth Piano Concerto, which received a critical panning after its première and fared no better in Europe in a hastily revised version. Perhaps it just seemed too old-fashioned for the Roaring Twenties. Rachmaninov made one further revision, in 1941, but the piece still failed to capture the imagination of the concert-going public. In today's programme, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli makes an electrifying case for the work. Rachmaninov's final piece for solo piano, the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, inhabits a totally different world from the concerto. Iit has its moments of passion, but overall it's cooler, more restrained, wistful - subdued even. Rachmaninov related how in performance he would make impromptu cuts in the work, depending on the amount of audience coughing.

    Rimsky Korsakov, arr Rachmaninov

    Flight of the Bumble Bee (The Tale of Tsar Saltan)

    Sergey Rachmaninov, piano

    Piano Concerto No 4 in G minor, Op 40

    Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Ettore Gracis, conductor

    3 Russian Songs, Op 41; 2. 'Oh Vanka, what a hothead you are'

    Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre

    BBC Philharmonic

    Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

    Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op 42

    Mikhail Pletnev, piano

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a work that failed to reflect the spirit of its time: his Fourth Piano Concerto.

    Sergey Rachmaninov spent the first two-thirds of his life in Russia. In the fateful year of 1917, at the age of 44, he realized that he must now uproot himself and his family and flee abroad. Someone from his landowning background would not have fared well under the new regime - perhaps he wouldn't have survived at all. As luck would have it he received an invitation to play a concert in Stockholm in the new year, and despite the chaos at home he managed to get permission from the authorities to travel.

    He made the journey with his family, taking only what could be carried in their luggage. They made the final leg, across the Swedish border, in an open sled during a blizzard, arriving in Stockholm on Christmas Eve. Stockholm, however, was to be only a temporary resting-place. Some years earlier he had undertaken a concert tour of America, and now he decided that America was where he had the best chance of carving out a living as a concert pianist. Before the year was done, the Rachmaninovs were chugging across the Atlantic on a Norwegian steamer, arriving in New York almost a year after they had fled Russia.

    Rachmaninov's first American work was the ill-fated Fourth Piano Concerto, which received a critical panning after its première and fared no better in Europe in a hastily revised version. Perhaps it just seemed too old-fashioned for the Roaring Twenties. Rachmaninov made one further revision, in 1941, but the piece still failed to capture the imagination of the concert-going public. In today's programme, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli makes an electrifying case for the work. Rachmaninov's final piece for solo piano, the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, inhabits a totally different world from the concerto. Iit has its moments of passion, but overall it's cooler, more restrained, wistful - subdued even. Rachmaninov related how in performance he would make impromptu cuts in the work, depending on the amount of audience coughing.

    Rimsky Korsakov, arr Rachmaninov

    Flight of the Bumble Bee (The Tale of Tsar Saltan)

    Sergey Rachmaninov, piano

    Piano Concerto No 4 in G minor, Op 40

    Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Ettore Gracis, conductor

    3 Russian Songs, Op 41: 2. 'Oh Vanka, what a hothead you are'

    Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre

    BBC Philharmonic

    Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

    Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op 42

    Mikhail Pletnev, piano

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 4.

    Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 4.

    04Flight2015100820170330 (R3)

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a work that failed to reflect the spirit of its time: his Fourth Piano Concerto.

    Sergey Rachmaninov spent the first two-thirds of his life in Russia. In the fateful year of 1917, at the age of 44, he realized that he must now uproot himself and his family and flee abroad. Someone from his landowning background would not have fared well under the new regime - perhaps he wouldn't have survived at all. As luck would have it he received an invitation to play a concert in Stockholm in the new year, and despite the chaos at home he managed to get permission from the authorities to travel.

    He made the journey with his family, taking only what could be carried in their luggage. They made the final leg, across the Swedish border, in an open sled during a blizzard, arriving in Stockholm on Christmas Eve. Stockholm, however, was to be only a temporary resting-place. Some years earlier he had undertaken a concert tour of America, and now he decided that America was where he had the best chance of carving out a living as a concert pianist. Before the year was done, the Rachmaninovs were chugging across the Atlantic on a Norwegian steamer, arriving in New York almost a year after they had fled Russia.

    Rachmaninov's first American work was the ill-fated Fourth Piano Concerto, which received a critical panning after its première and fared no better in Europe in a hastily revised version. Perhaps it just seemed too old-fashioned for the Roaring Twenties. Rachmaninov made one further revision, in 1941, but the piece still failed to capture the imagination of the concert-going public. In today's programme, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli makes an electrifying case for the work. Rachmaninov's final piece for solo piano, the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, inhabits a totally different world from the concerto. Iit has its moments of passion, but overall it's cooler, more restrained, wistful - subdued even. Rachmaninov related how in performance he would make impromptu cuts in the work, depending on the amount of audience coughing.

    Rimsky Korsakov, arr Rachmaninov

    Flight of the Bumble Bee (The Tale of Tsar Saltan)

    Sergey Rachmaninov, piano

    Piano Concerto No 4 in G minor, Op 40

    Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Ettore Gracis, conductor

    3 Russian Songs, Op 41: 2. 'Oh Vanka, what a hothead you are'

    Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre

    BBC Philharmonic

    Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

    Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op 42

    Mikhail Pletnev, piano

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 4.

    04Flight20151008

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a work that failed to reflect the spirit of its time: his Fourth Piano Concerto.

    Sergey Rachmaninov spent the first two-thirds of his life in Russia. In the fateful year of 1917, at the age of 44, he realized that he must now uproot himself and his family and flee abroad. Someone from his landowning background would not have fared well under the new regime - perhaps he wouldn't have survived at all. As luck would have it he received an invitation to play a concert in Stockholm in the new year, and despite the chaos at home he managed to get permission from the authorities to travel.

    He made the journey with his family, taking only what could be carried in their luggage. They made the final leg, across the Swedish border, in an open sled during a blizzard, arriving in Stockholm on Christmas Eve. Stockholm, however, was to be only a temporary resting-place. Some years earlier he had undertaken a concert tour of America, and now he decided that America was where he had the best chance of carving out a living as a concert pianist. Before the year was done, the Rachmaninovs were chugging across the Atlantic on a Norwegian steamer, arriving in New York almost a year after they had fled Russia.

    Rachmaninov's first American work was the ill-fated Fourth Piano Concerto, which received a critical panning after its première and fared no better in Europe in a hastily revised version. Perhaps it just seemed too old-fashioned for the Roaring Twenties. Rachmaninov made one further revision, in 1941, but the piece still failed to capture the imagination of the concert-going public. In today's programme, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli makes an electrifying case for the work. Rachmaninov's final piece for solo piano, the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, inhabits a totally different world from the concerto. Iit has its moments of passion, but overall it's cooler, more restrained, wistful - subdued even. Rachmaninov related how in performance he would make impromptu cuts in the work, depending on the amount of audience coughing.

    Rimsky Korsakov, arr Rachmaninov

    Flight of the Bumble Bee (The Tale of Tsar Saltan)

    Sergey Rachmaninov, piano

    Piano Concerto No 4 in G minor, Op 40

    Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Ettore Gracis, conductor

    3 Russian Songs, Op 41; 2. 'Oh Vanka, what a hothead you are'

    Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre

    BBC Philharmonic

    Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

    Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op 42

    Mikhail Pletnev, piano

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    04The Concert Pianist2006042720071011

    When Rachmaninov found himself facing the events of the October Revolution in 1917, and the disintegration of the Old Russia he had grown up with, he felt unable to remake himself and chose emigration.

    Once abroad, out of necessity, he began to carve out an exhausting life touring as a concert pianist.

    Etudes tableaux, No 8, Op 33; No 5, Op 39

    Mikhail Pletnev (piano)

    The Isle of the Dead, Op 29

    St Petersburg Philharmonic

    Mariss Jansons (conductor)

    Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op 42

    Helene Grimaud (piano)

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)

    When Sergei Rachmaninov found himself facing the events of the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 and the disintegration of the Old Russia he had grown up with, he felt unable to remake himself and chose emigration.

    Études tableaux, No 8 Op 33 and No 5 Op 39

    St.

    Petersburg Philharmonic, Mariss Jansons (conductor)

    Hlène Grimaud (piano).

    05Indian Summer20151009
    05Indian Summer20151009

    05Indian Summer20151009

    Donald Macleod focuses on a late Rachmaninov masterpiece: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

    05Indian Summer2015100920170331 (R3)

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a late masterpiece: the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

    After his flight to America in the wake of the Russian Revolution, Rachmaninov never again returned to his homeland. He did make a partial return to Europe, though; in 1933 he was able to move into his newly built villa on the shores of Lake Lucerne, where he would spend summers until the outbreak of World War Two. The serenity of the Villa Senar (named after SErgei and NAtalya Rachmaninov), in tandem with the not unwelcome surprise of the Steinway concert grand (a housewarming gift from the company) that was waiting for him when he arrived there, got Rachmaninov's creative juices flowing again, and the following year, on Swiss soil, he wrote one of his finest and most popular pieces - a set of 24 variations on the famous 24th Caprice for solo violin by Paganini. Fast-forward six years and Rachmaninov is back in the USA, recuperating from a small operation in a secluded house he had rented on Long Island. Here, in not much more than a month, he wrote his Symphonic Dances - "My last spark", he called them - a wonderfully affirmative swansong from a composer famous for his lugubrious manner.

    Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op 43

    Earl Wild, piano

    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

    Jascha Horenstein, conductor

    Symphonic Dances, Op 45 (2-piano version)

    Nikolai Demidenko, Dmitri Alexeev, pianos

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    Donald Macleod focuses on a late Rachmaninov masterpiece: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

    05Indian Summer20151009

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a late masterpiece: the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

    After his flight to America in the wake of the Russian Revolution, Rachmaninov never again returned to his homeland. He did make a partial return to Europe, though; in 1933 he was able to move into his newly-built villa on the shores of Lake Lucerne, where he would spend summers until the outbreak of World War II. The serenity of the Villa Senar (named after SErgei and NAtalya Rachmaninov), in tandem with the not unwelcome surprise of the Steinway concert grand (a housewarming gift from the company) that was waiting for him when he arrived there, got Rachmaninov's creative juices flowing again, and the following year, on Swiss soil, he wrote one of his finest and most popular pieces - a set of 24 variations on the famous 24th Caprice for solo violin by Paganini. Fast-forward six years and Rachmaninov is back in the USA, recuperating from a small operation in a secluded house he had rented on Long Island. Here, in not much more than a month, he wrote his Symphonic Dances - "My last spark", he called them - a wonderfully affirmative swansong from a composer famous for his lugubrious manner.

    Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op 43

    Earl Wild, piano

    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

    Jascha Horenstein, conductor

    Symphonic Dances, Op 45 (2-piano version)

    Nikolai Demidenko, Dmitri Alexeev, pianos

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    05Indian Summer2015100920170331 (R3)

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a late masterpiece: the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

    After his flight to America in the wake of the Russian Revolution, Rachmaninov never again returned to his homeland. He did make a partial return to Europe, though; in 1933 he was able to move into his newly-built villa on the shores of Lake Lucerne, where he would spend summers until the outbreak of World War II. The serenity of the Villa Senar (named after SErgei and NAtalya Rachmaninov), in tandem with the not unwelcome surprise of the Steinway concert grand (a housewarming gift from the company) that was waiting for him when he arrived there, got Rachmaninov's creative juices flowing again, and the following year, on Swiss soil, he wrote one of his finest and most popular pieces - a set of 24 variations on the famous 24th Caprice for solo violin by Paganini. Fast-forward six years and Rachmaninov is back in the USA, recuperating from a small operation in a secluded house he had rented on Long Island. Here, in not much more than a month, he wrote his Symphonic Dances - "My last spark", he called them - a wonderfully affirmative swansong from a composer famous for his lugubrious manner.

    Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op 43

    Earl Wild, piano

    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

    Jascha Horenstein, conductor

    Symphonic Dances, Op 45 (2-piano version)

    Nikolai Demidenko, Dmitri Alexeev, pianos

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    This week Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov the pianist-composer, focusing on his concertante piano works. Today, a late masterpiece: the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

    After his flight to America in the wake of the Russian Revolution, Rachmaninov never again returned to his homeland. He did make a partial return to Europe, though; in 1933 he was able to move into his newly built villa on the shores of Lake Lucerne, where he would spend summers until the outbreak of World War Two. The serenity of the Villa Senar (named after SErgei and NAtalya Rachmaninov), in tandem with the not unwelcome surprise of the Steinway concert grand (a housewarming gift from the company) that was waiting for him when he arrived there, got Rachmaninov's creative juices flowing again, and the following year, on Swiss soil, he wrote one of his finest and most popular pieces - a set of 24 variations on the famous 24th Caprice for solo violin by Paganini. Fast-forward six years and Rachmaninov is back in the USA, recuperating from a small operation in a secluded house he had rented on Long Island. Here, in not much more than a month, he wrote his Symphonic Dances - "My last spark", he called them - a wonderfully affirmative swansong from a composer famous for his lugubrious manner.

    Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op 43

    Earl Wild, piano

    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

    Jascha Horenstein, conductor

    Symphonic Dances, Op 45 (2-piano version)

    Nikolai Demidenko, Dmitri Alexeev, pianos

    Producer: Chris Barstow.

    Donald Macleod focuses on a late Rachmaninov masterpiece: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

    Donald Macleod focuses on a late Rachmaninov masterpiece: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

    05Life In Exile20071012

    While living in self-imposed exile, Rachmaninov kept in touch with the artistic developments in Russia.

    Although he made homes in America and Europe, he always remained Russian in spirit and created his own version of his homeland wherever he lived.

    The Migrant Wind, Op 34, No 4; Arion, Op 34, No 5

    Joan Rodgers (soprano)

    Howard Shelley (piano)

    Symphonic Dances

    Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

    Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)

    Three Russian Songs, Op 41

    Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia

    Charles Dutoit (conductor)

    05 LAST*2009020620110408

    Donald Macleod explores Rachmaninov's life and work, focusing on the composer after the Russian Revolution.

    He had first escaped to Stockholm and then subsequently moved to the US, where Rachmaninov built himself a new career.

    While he regretted having left little time for composition - 39 of Rachmaninov's 45 opuses were written before he left Russia - he nonetheless created some of his best-loved music in this final phase of his life.

    Flight of the Bumble Bee - arrangment of Rimsky-Korsakov

  • cd 2 tracks 7-32

    symphony no 3 in a minor, op 44 (1935-6, rev 1938) - 2nd mvt

  • cd 7 track 12

    rhapsody on a theme of paganini, op 43 (1934)

  • chandos chan 9802
  • dmitri alexeev, nikolai demidenko (pianos)
  • hyperion cda66654, track 11.

    Donald Macleod focuses on rachmaninov after the russian revolution

  • leopold stokowski (conductor)
  • philadelphia orchestra
  • rca 82876-67892-2
  • russian state symphony orchestra
  • sergei rachmaninov (piano)
  • track 3

    symphonic dances, op 45, no 3 (1940) - original version for two pianos

  • valeri polyansky (conductor)

    donald macleod focuses on rachmaninov after the russian revolution.

    in this week's edition of composer of the week, donald macleod explores the life and music of sergei rachmaninov.

    in the concluding programme of this week, donald macleod looks at rachmaninov after the revolution - his escape to stockholm, his passage to the united states, and the new career he built for himself there.

    to his constant regret it was a career that left little time for composition; 39 of rachmaninov's 45 opuses were written before he left russia.

    nonetheless, he created some of his best-loved music in this final phase of his life; donald macleod introduces the composer's own performance of the rhapsody on a theme of paganini, as well as extracts from his 3rd symphony and his symphonic dances in their original version for two pianos, thrillingly performed by two present-day russian pianists, dmitri alexeev and nikolai demidenko

  • 05 LASTLife In Exile2006042120060428

    Although Rachmaninov's life in exile was self imposed, he kept in touch with the artistic developments in Russia.

    He was careful to avoid making any political comment about the regime back home, but in January 1931 he was a joint signatory, along with two academics, on a letter to the New York Times, condemning the Soviet authorities' attitude to education and taking them to task over other social issues.

    The result was a ban in Russia on the study and performance of Rachmaninov's music, which wasn't lifted until 1934.

    Rachmaninov did put down roots in his homes in America and Europe, but nonetheless he remained Russian in spirit and created his own version of his homeland wherever he lived.

    The Migrant Wind, Op 32, No 5

    Joan Rodgers (soprano)

    Howard Shelley (piano)

    Symphonic Dances

    Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

    Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)

    Three Russian Songs, Op 41

    Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia

    Charles Dutoit (conductor)