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Rachmaninov, Sergei (1873-1943)

Sergei Rachmaninov

born: 1 April 1873
died: 28 March 1943
country: Russia

‘Melody is music’, wrote Rachmaninov, ‘the basis of music as a whole, since a perfect melody implies and calls into being its own harmonic design’. The Russian composer, pianist and conductor’s passion for melody was central to his work, clearly heard in his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, a brilliant and diverse set of variations on a tune by the great 19th-century violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini.

Although the young Sergei’s father squandered much of the family inheritance, initially he invested wisely in his son’s musical education. In 1882 the boy received a scholarship to study at the St Petersburg Conservatory, but further disasters at home hindered his progress and he moved to study at the Moscow Conservatory. Here he proved an outstanding piano pupil and began to study composition. Rachmaninov’s early works reveal his debt to the music of Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, although he rapidly forged a personal, richly lyrical musical language, clearly expressed in his Prelude in C sharp minor for piano (1892). His First Symphony (1897) was savaged by the critics, which caused the composer’s confidence to evaporate. In desperation he sought help from Dr Nikolai Dahl, whose hypnotherapy sessions restored Rachmaninov’s self-belief and gave him the will to complete his Second Piano Concerto, widely known through its later use as the soundtrack for the classic film Brief Encounter. Thereafter, his creative imagination ran free to produce a string of unashamedly romantic works divorced from newer musical trends. He left Russia shortly before the October Revolution in 1917, touring as a pianist and conductor and buying properties in Europe and the United States.

from notes by Andrew Stewart © 2009

Albums

Rachmaninov & Franck: Cello Sonatas
CDA67376
Rachmaninov & Medtner: Piano Sonatas
Studio Master: CDA67936Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Rachmaninov & Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos
APR5519Download only
Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes
CDA30015Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes
CDA67700
Rachmaninov: Demidenko plays Rachmaninov
CDH55239Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Rachmaninov: Études-tableaux
CDH55403Helios (Hyperion's budget label)Download currently discounted
Rachmaninov: Moments musicaux & Morceaux de salon
CDA66184Archive Service
Rachmaninov: Music for two pianos
CDH55209Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos
APR6005for the price of 1 — Download only
Rachmaninov: Piano Music
SIGCD230Download only
Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas
CDA66047Archive Service
Rachmaninov: Piano Trios
CDH55431Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Rachmaninov: Preludes & Melodies
Studio Master: SIGCD264Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Rachmaninov: Preludes Op 23
CDA66081Archive Service
Rachmaninov: Preludes Op 32
CDA66082Archive Service
Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances; Stravinsky: Symphony in three movements
Studio Master: LSO0688Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Rachmaninov: Symphony No 2
Studio Master: LSO0677Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Rachmaninov: The Complete Solo Piano Music
CDS44041/8Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Rachmaninov: The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom
CDH55318Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Rachmaninov: The Early Piano Works
CDA66198Archive Service
Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos
CDA67501/22CDsThis album is not available for download
Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions
CDH55458Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Rachmaninov: Variations
CDA66009Archive Service
Rachmaninov: Vespers
CDA66460
Rachmaninov: Vespers
CDA30016Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Rachmaninov: Transcriptions and arrangements for organ
SIGCD324Download only 5 January 2015 Release
Allegri: Miserere
Studio Master: SIGCD085Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Arensky: Piano Trios
Studio Master: CDA68015Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Eileen Joyce – The complete Parlophone & Columbia solo recordings
APR7502Download only
English Poets, Russian Romances
CDA67274Please, someone, buy me …
Franck & Rachmaninov: Cello Sonatas
CDA67376
Ikon, Vol. 2
CDA67756
Kaleidoscope
CDA67275
Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas
Studio Master: CDA67936Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Medtner: Music for two pianos
CDH55337Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Piers Lane goes to town
Studio Master: CDA67967Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Pushkin Romances
CDA67773
Rachmaninov/Grieg: Cello Sonatas
Studio Master: SIGCD172Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Rachmaninov: Violin Sonata & other works
Studio Master: SIGCD164Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Rare Piano Encores
CDH55109Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Russian Images, Vol. 1
CDA67105
Russian Images, Vol. 2
CDA67205
Russian Treasures
Studio Master: SIGCD900Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Sergio Fiorentino – The Early Recordings, Vol. 5 – Rachmaninov
APR5585Download only
Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2 – 9 March 1947
APR5622Download only
Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 3 – 11 November 1947
APR5623Download only
Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 5 – Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 & appendices
APR5625Download only
Smörgasbord
CDA67184
Stephen Hough's New Piano Album
CDA67043
Stravinsky: Symphony in three movements; Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances
Studio Master: LSO0688Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Tchaikovsky & Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos
APR5519Download only
The Composer-Pianists
CDA67050Archive Service
The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 4 – Diémer, Eibenschütz, Hofmann & Backhaus
APR5534Download only
Vladimir Horowitz – The complete solo European recordings
APR6004for the price of 1 — Download only
Yakov Flier – Chopin, Kabalevsky & Rachmaninov
APR5665Download only
York Bowen – The complete solo 78-rpm recordings
APR6007for the price of 1 — Download only
The Virtuoso Mandolin
A66007Archive Service (LP transfer)This album is not available for download

Complete works available for download

All-Night Vigil 'Vespers', Op 37Corydon Singers, Matthew Best (conductor)
Arion, Op 34 No 5Vassily Savenko (bass), Alexander Blok (piano)
Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 19Hideko Udagawa (violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (piano)
Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 19Jamie Walton (cello), Daniel Grimwood (piano)
Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 19Steven Isserlis (cello), Stephen Hough (piano)
Études-tableaux, Op 39Howard Shelley (piano)
Études-tableaux, Op 39Howard Shelley (piano)
Four PiecesAlessio Bax (piano)
Four PiecesHoward Shelley (piano)
Four PiecesHoward Shelley (piano)
FragmentsHoward Shelley (piano)
FragmentsAlessio Bax (piano)
Fughetta in FHoward Shelley (piano)
FugueJeremy Filsell (organ) January 2015 Release
Moments musicaux, Op 16Howard Shelley (piano)
Moments musicaux, Op 16Howard Shelley (piano)
Morceau de fantaisie in G minorHoward Shelley (piano)
Morceaux de fantaisie, Op 3Howard Shelley (piano)
Morceaux de fantaisie, Op 3Howard Shelley (piano)
Morceaux de fantaisie, Op 3Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Morceaux de salon, Op 10Howard Shelley (piano)
Morceaux de salon, Op 10Howard Shelley (piano)
Muza 'The muse', Op 34 No 1Vassily Savenko (bass), Alexander Blok (piano)
Muza 'The muse', Op 34 No 1Joan Rodgers (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne 'Do not sing to me, fair maiden', Op 4 No 4Vassily Savenko (bass), Alexander Blok (piano)
Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne 'Do not sing to me, fair maiden', Op 4 No 4Joan Rodgers (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Ona kak polden' khorosha 'She is as beautiful as noon', Op 14 No 9Vassily Savenko (bass), Alexander Blok (piano)
Oriental Dance, Op 2 No 2Steven Isserlis (cello), Stephen Hough (piano)
Oriental sketchHideko Udagawa (violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (piano)
Oriental sketchHoward Shelley (piano)
Ostrovok 'The islet', Op 14 No 2Vassily Savenko (bass), Alexander Blok (piano)
Piano Concerto No 1 in F sharp minor, Op 1Sviatoslav Richter (piano), USSR RTV Large Symphony Orchestra, Kurt Sanderling (conductor)
Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18Simon Barere (piano), Brico Symphony Orchestra, Antonia Brico (conductor)
Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18Lev Oborin (piano), Radio Orchestra, Alexander Gauk (conductor)
Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 30Vladimir Horowitz (piano), New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, John Barbirolli (conductor)
Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 30Lev Oborin (piano), USSR State Orchestra, Konstantin Ivanov (conductor)
Piano Concerto No 4 in G minor, Op 40Yakov Zak (piano), Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Kyrill Kondrashin (conductor)
Piano Sonata No 1 in D minor, Op 28Howard Shelley (piano)
Piano Sonata No 1 in D minor, Op 28Howard Shelley (piano)
Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor 'original version', Op 36Howard Shelley (piano)
Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor 'original version', Op 36Howard Shelley (piano)
Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor, Op 36Jeremy Filsell (piano)
Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor, Op 36Steven Osborne (piano)
Pièce in D minorHoward Shelley (piano)
Pièce in D minorAlessio Bax (piano)
Pora! 'It is time', Op 14 No 12Vassily Savenko (bass), Alexander Blok (piano)
Prelude in D minor, Op posth.Howard Shelley (piano)
Prelude in D minor, Op posth.Alessio Bax (piano)
Prelude in F majorHoward Shelley (piano)
Prelude in F majorAlessio Bax (piano)
Prelude, Op 2 No 1Steven Isserlis (cello), Stephen Hough (piano)
Preludes, Op 23Howard Shelley (piano)
Preludes, Op 23Howard Shelley (piano)
Preludes, Op 23Steven Osborne (piano)
Preludes, Op 23Sergio Fiorentino (piano)
Preludes, Op 32Howard Shelley (piano)
Preludes, Op 32Howard Shelley (piano)
Preludes, Op 32Steven Osborne (piano)
Preludes, Op 32Sergio Fiorentino (piano)
Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op 43Yakov Zak (piano), USSR State Symphony Orchestra, Kyrill Kondrashin (conductor)
Romance in A minor, Op posth.Hideko Udagawa (violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (piano)
Romance in E flat, Op 8 No 2Leslie Howard (piano)
Russian Rhapsody, Op posth.Dmitri Alexeev (piano), Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Song without wordsHoward Shelley (piano)
Suite No 1 'Fantaisie-tableaux', Op 5Howard Shelley (piano), Hilary MacNamara (piano)
Suite No 2, Op 17Howard Shelley (piano), Hilary MacNamara (piano)
Suite No 2, Op 17Dmitri Alexeev (piano), Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Symphonic Dances, Op 45London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (conductor)
Symphonic Dances, Op 45Howard Shelley (piano), Hilary MacNamara (piano)
Symphonic Dances, Op 45Dmitri Alexeev (piano), Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Symphonic Dances, Op 45Jeremy Filsell (organ) January 2015 Release
Symphony No 2 in E minor, Op 27London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (conductor)
The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31Corydon Singers
Three NocturnesHoward Shelley (piano)
Three NocturnesHoward Shelley (piano)
Trio élégiaque No 1 in G minorThe Moscow Rachmaninov Trio
Trio élégiaque No 2 in D minor, Op 9The Moscow Rachmaninov Trio
Two Pieces for cello and piano, Op 2The Moscow Rachmaninov Trio, Natalia Savinova (cello), Viktor Yampolsky (piano)
Two Pieces for violin and piano, Op 6The Moscow Rachmaninov Trio, Mikhail Tsinman (violin), Viktor Yampolsky (piano)
Variations on a theme of Chopin, Op 22Howard Shelley (piano)
Variations on a theme of Chopin, Op 22Howard Shelley (piano)
Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op 42Howard Shelley (piano)
Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op 42Steven Osborne (piano)
Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op 42Howard Shelley (piano)
Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op 42Jeremy Filsell (organ) January 2015 Release
FRANZ BEHR (1837-1898))
Polka de W RMarc-André Hamelin (piano)
Polka de W RHoward Shelley (piano)
Polka de W RSimon Barere (piano)
Polka de W RSimon Barere (piano)
FRITZ KREISLER (1875-1962))
LiebesfreudHoward Shelley (piano)
LiebesfreudAlessio Bax (piano)
LiebesleidMats Lidström (cello), Bengt Forsberg (piano)
LiebesleidHoward Shelley (piano)
LiebesleidAlessio Bax (piano)

Alphabetical listing of all musical works

All-Night Vigil 'Vespers', Op 37 (Rachmaninov)
Arion, Op 34 No 5 (Rachmaninov)
Barcarolle  
Blagosloven gradyy 'Blessed is he'  
Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Gospoda 'First Antiphon: Bless the Lord, O my soul'  
Blazhen muzh  
Bogoroditse Devo 'Rejoice, O Virgin'  
Budi imya Gospodne 'Blessed be the name of the Lord'  
Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 19 (Rachmaninov)
Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 19 (Rachmaninov/Mikhailovsky)
Da ispolnyatsya usta nasha 'Hymn of Praise: Let our mouths be filled'  
Danse orientale  
Danses tziganes 'Danse hongroise'  
Die schöne Müllerin, D795 (Schubert/Rachmaninov)
Dostoyno est 'Hymn to the Mother of God: It is truly meet to bless you'  
Edin svyat 'One is holy'  
Ein Sommernachtstraum, Op 21 (Mendelssohn/Rachmaninov)
Élégie  
Études-tableaux, Op 33 (Rachmaninov)
Études-tableaux, Op 33 (Rachmaninov/Heifetz)
Études-tableaux, Op 39 (Rachmaninov)
Études-tableaux, Op 39 (Rachmaninov/Filsell)
Four Pieces (Rachmaninov)
Fragments (Rachmaninov)
Fughetta in F (Rachmaninov)
Fugue (Rachmaninov/Filsell)
Gavotte  
Gospodi, spasi blagochestivya 'Trisagion: Lord, we pray that you may be merciful'  
Hopak  
Humoresque  
Kheruvimskaya pesn 'Cherubic Hymn'  
Khvalite Gospoda s nebes 'Communion Hymn: Praise the Lord from the heavens'  
Kolïbel'naya pesnya 'Lullaby'  
L'arlésienne suite No 1 (Bizet/Rachmaninov)
Liebesfreud (Kreisler/Rachmaninov)
Liebesleid (Kreisler/Rachmaninov)
Liebesleid (Kreisler/Rachmaninov/Lidström)
Margaritki 'Daisies'  
Mazurka  
Mélodie  
Mélodie  
Mélodie  
Mélodie  
Milost mira 'The Eucharistic Prayer – Sanctus – Benedictus'  
Minuet  
Moments musicaux, Op 16 (Rachmaninov)
Moments musicaux, Op 16 revised (Rachmaninov)
Morceau de fantaisie in G minor (Rachmaninov)
Morceaux de fantaisie, Op 3 (Rachmaninov)
Morceaux de fantaisie, Op 3 revised (Rachmaninov)
Morceaux de salon, Op 10 (Rachmaninov)
Muza 'The muse', Op 34 No 1 (Rachmaninov)
Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne 'Do not sing to me, fair maiden', Op 4 No 4 (Rachmaninov)
Nocturne  
Nyne otpushchaeshi  
Ona kak polden' khorosha 'She is as beautiful as noon', Op 14 No 9 (Rachmaninov)
Oriental Dance, Op 2 No 2 (Rachmaninov)
Oriental sketch (Rachmaninov)
Oriental sketch (Rachmaninov/Heifetz)
Ostrovok 'The islet', Op 14 No 2 (Rachmaninov)
Otche nash 'The Lord's Prayer: Our Father in heaven'  
Otpust 'Dismissal'  
Partita No 3 in E major, BWV1006 (Bach/Rachmaninov)
Piano Concerto No 1 in F sharp minor, Op 1 (Rachmaninov)
Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18 (Rachmaninov)
Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 30 (Rachmaninov)
Piano Concerto No 4 in G minor, Op 40 (Rachmaninov)
Piano Sonata No 1 in D minor, Op 28 (Rachmaninov)
Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor 'original version', Op 36 (Rachmaninov)
Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor, Op 36 (Rachmaninov)
Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor, Op 36 (Rachmaninov/Osborne)
Pièce in D minor (Rachmaninov)
Polichinelle  
Polka de W R (Behr/Rachmaninov)
Pora! 'It is time', Op 14 No 12 (Rachmaninov)
Prelude  
Prélude  
Prelude in D minor, Op posth. (Rachmaninov)
Prelude in F major (Rachmaninov)
Prelude, Op 2 No 1 (Rachmaninov)
Prelude: Lento  
Preludes, Op 23 (Rachmaninov)
Preludes, Op 32 (Rachmaninov)
Preludes, Op 32 (Rachmaninov/Filsell)
Preludes, Op 32 (Rachmaninov/Heifetz)
Priidite poklonimsya  
Priidite, poklonimsya 'The Little Entrance: Come, let us worship'  
Prositelnaya Ekteniya 'Litany of Supplication'  
Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op 43 (Rachmaninov)
Romance  
Romance  
Romance  
Romance in A minor, Op posth. (Rachmaninov)
Romance in E flat, Op 8 No 2 (Rachmaninov/Siloti)
Russian Rhapsody, Op posth. (Rachmaninov)
Scherzo  
Sérénade  
Shest Romansov 'Six Romances', Op 16 (Tchaikovsky/Rachmaninov)
Simvol very: Veruyu 'The Creed: I believe in one God'  
Siren' 'Lilacs'  
Six Romances, Op 38 (Rachmaninov)
Six Romances, Op 38 (Rachmaninov/Kreisler)
Skazka o Tsare Saltane 'The Tale of Tsar Saltan' (Rimsky-Korsakov/Rachmaninov)
Slava Otsu – Edinorodnyy Syne 'Second Antiphon: Glory be to God the Father'  
Song without words (Rachmaninov)
Songs, Op 21 (Rachmaninov)
Songs, Op 21 (Rachmaninov/Heifetz)
Songs, Op 34 (Rachmaninov/Bax)
Songs, Op 34 (Rachmaninov/Conus)
Songs, Op 34 (Rachmaninov/Kocsis)
Songs, Op 34 (Rachmaninov/Pott)
Songs, Op 34 (Rachmaninov/Potts)
Songs, Op 34 (Rachmaninov/Press)
Sorochinskaya yarmarka 'Sorotchinsky fair' (Musorgsky/Rachmaninov)
Sugubaya Ekteniya 'Augmented Litany'  
Suite No 1 'Fantaisie-tableaux', Op 5 (Rachmaninov)
Suite No 2, Op 17 (Rachmaninov)
Symphonic Dances, Op 45 (Rachmaninov)
Symphonic Dances, Op 45 (Rachmaninov/Filsell)
Symphony No 2 in E minor, Op 27 (Rachmaninov)
Tebe poem 'We praise you'  
The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31 (Rachmaninov)
The flight of the bumblebee  
Three Nocturnes (Rachmaninov)
Trio élégiaque No 1 in G minor (Rachmaninov)
Trio élégiaque No 2 in D minor, Op 9 (Rachmaninov)
Two Pieces for cello and piano, Op 2 (Rachmaninov)
Two Pieces for cello and piano, Op 2 (Rachmaninov/Mikhailovsky)
Two Pieces for violin and piano, Op 6 (Rachmaninov)
V mladenchestve moyom ona menya lyubila 'When I was a child she loved me'  
Valse  
Variations on a theme of Chopin, Op 22 (Rachmaninov)
Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op 42 (Rachmaninov)
Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op 42 (Rachmaninov/Filsell)
Velikaya Ekteniya 'The Great Litany'  
Vo tsarstvii tvoem 'Third Antiphon: In your kingdom'  
Vocalise  
Vzbrannoy voevode  
What wealth of rapture  
Wohin?  
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