The wfmt radio network

Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff – The finest example of late Russian Romanticism.  We'll take five hours to explore the life and music of this lyrically gifted pianist and composer.

 
Program 1

Largely influenced by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and his compositions, Sergei Rachmaninoff commenced his own music career by first taking piano instruction in Moscow. However, Rachmaninoff removed himself and went to live with relatives in Ivanafka, as he had grown tired of the intensive methods he was taught in Moscow. He composed his first piano concerto in F sharp minor at 18, and continued to embark towards his most acclaimed pieces, including his piano concerto in C-sharp minor. 

Rachmaninoff's idols drove him to incorporate a heavy gypsy theme to his music, creating a sound of travel. 

Rachmaninoff: Vespers Op. 37 (excerpt)
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir/ Hillier
Harmonia Mundi 807504
:51

Rachmaninoff: Suite for two pianos, II (excerpt)
Argerich & Montero, pianos
EMI 58472
1:06
 
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto #1 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 1, Vivace
Philadelphia Orchestra/Ormandy; Rachmaninoff, p.
RCA 61658
12:08
 
Rachmaninoff: Dances From Aleko: Women's Dance & Men’s Dance
Philharmonia Orchestra
Chandos 9081
4:19, 4:59
 
Rachmaninoff: "The Moon Is High In The Sky" fr. Aleko
Orch./Goossens; Chaliapin, bs.
Pearl 9921
4:10
 
Rachmaninoff: Prelude In C-Sharp Minor, Op. 3, No. 2
Ashkenazy, p.
Decca 43666386
4:29
 
Rachmaninoff: Capriccio On Gypsy Themes, Op. 12,
 "Caprice Bohemien"
Russian State Symphony Orchestra/Polyansky
Chandos 10104
18:45

 

Program 2

After becoming embarrassed into hiding, Rachmaninoff seeks help from Dr. Nikolai Dahl, who hyptonizes and encourages Rachmaninoff to regain his positive outlook on composing. After several daily visits to Dahl, Rachmaninoff manages to recover from the reputation that the concert premiering his first symphony in D-minor, "Op. 13, I" and "III" conducted by a drunk Glazunov left him with. Dahl's help boosted Rachmaninoff to write and perform his second concerto. 

Rachmaninoff: Piano Trio #2 In D Minor, Op. 9,
Trio Élégiaque, I (excerpt), III
Kogan, v.; Luzanov, vc.; Svetlanov, p.
Russian Disc 10 046
1:05, 7:27

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13, I, III
Russian State Symphony/Polyansky
Chandos 9822
14:09, 10:45
 
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto #2 In C Minor, Op. 18, I
Philadelphia Orch/Stokowski; Rachmaninoff, p.
RCA 61265
9:49
 
Rachmaninoff: The Bells, I. Allegro Ma Non Tanto
Russian State Symphony/Polyansky
Chan 9759
6:07
Program 3

Tchaikovsky proposes to Rachmaninoff the idea to produce his music with Tchaikovsky's own opera. Rachmaninoff premieres his third concerto, one of the hardest concertos ever composed in New York City, and then at Carnegie Hall with two different conductors. Composer and conductor Gustav Mahler conducted the Carnegie Hall performance, and his method was one Rachmaninoff greatly appreciated, probably especially after the unforgettable experience with his first symphony in St. Petersburg.

Rachmaninoff: Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 31:
X. “We Praise Thee”
The Sixteen/Christophers
Decca 000682502
2:24

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27, I & III
Philadelphia Orchestra/Ormandy 
RCA 60132
18:49, 12:59
 
Rachmaninoff: Concerto for Piano No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30:
I. Allegro ma non tanto
New York Philharmonic/Ozawa; Watts, p.
Sony 63032
15:55
Program 4

Rachmaninoff maintained his Russian veins even after departing from Russia for good. During WWI and throughout the Communist revolution, Russia suffered, heavily influencing Rachmaninoff's later compositions. He believed one's music should represent his origins. But his country wasn't the only influence on Rachmaninoff. He took inspiration from Arnold Bocklin's dark painting, "The Isle of the Dead," as well as many other works of art and literature. 

Rachmaninoff: Vespers, Op. 37: “Come, let us Worship”
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir/Hillier
HM 807504
2:51, :42

The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29
Russian State Symphony Orchestra/Polyansky
Chan 10104
22:12
 
Rachmaninoff: Suite #1 For 2 Pianos, Op. 5, IV
Argerich & Rabinovitch, pnos.
Teldec 74717
2:48
 
Rachmaninoff: Symphony #3 In A Minor, Op. 44, II
Philadelphia Orch/Dutoit
Lon 433181
12:38
 
Rachmaninoff: Suite #2 For 2 Pianos, Op. 17, IV
Ax & Bronfman, pnos.
Sony 61767
6:20
 
Rachmaninoff: Lilacs, Op. 21/5
Rachmaninoff, p.
RCA 7766
2:20
Program 5

"If you want to know me, you must know my music," Rachmaninoff once said. Bill dissects the chords in some of Rachmaninoff's final compositions, morphing the "Paganini" into a C-sharp major, then reversing the melody to produce a Hollywood style tune, though that is not what Rachmaninoff intended. Rachmaninoff surprises his audience by including an alto-saxophonist, Carl Waxman to play in his eerie orchestra piece, "Symphonic Dances." Though Bill cites a journal entry in which Rachmaninoff writes of his lack of youth and nation, he reminds us that Rachmaninoff left an unforgettably respectable mark. 

Rachmaninoff: Vespers Op. 37 (excerpt)
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir/Hillier
Harmonia Mundi 807504
1:14

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
LSO/Previn; Ashkenazy, p.
Decca 473251
23:41
 
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 (excerpts)
Philadelphia Orchestra/Ormandy
Decca 473251
11:27, 14:02
 
Rachmaninoff: Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14
Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Järvi
Chandos 9261
1:41, :37

 

The Exploring Music streaming website is made possible by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and Susan & Richard Kiphart.
You have opened up the world of Classical Music to me, where previously, it seemed too complicated.
Steffen Demeter
This is simply one of the very best radio programmes in the medium!...The study of the people, the times, and the events that inform the music we otherwise enjoy and even, heaven forbid, take for granted, brings the entire world of the music and the composer to life.
Walther Davies
There isn't a program you broadcast on Exploring Music" that isn't of interest. I find them all engaging. It is a combination of variety of subject, intellectual curiosity and your obvious enthusiasm which characterize your satisfying programs.
Michael Sanders
It’s a great way to re-engage myself with consciousness before heading off to work.
Kourtney
I Love this program! I am in 7th grade and I am the complete opposite of the other kids. I am 4th chair in the orchestra and I love to read. But most of all, I LOVE classical music!
Claudia Wertz
Your show has helped open my mind and heart to this world of music, and every show I hear confirms my place in music and gives me new ideas for where I'd like to go with it in the future….I grew up with classical music as a child and always held it in my heart, but I didn't have the confidence to be a good student (or a good violinist.)
Christine Anderson
Listening to you is almost interactive.You invite us in with so many well modulated dramatic and informative comments, enticing, enthusiastic interpretations, and coherent, beautiful presentations. It's a privilege to follow you into the musical space you create.
Sally Rosenbaum
I just love this program. It is soothing and comfortable at the end of the day. I find his comments interesting, but they aren't so dragged out that there is very little music. The balance of both is just right.
Jean Quay
Newsletters Thank You!