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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66009
Recording details: November 1978
Conway Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by John Boyden
Engineered by Caroline Dorey
Release date: June 1988
Total duration: 18 minutes 30 seconds

'Stunning performances' (BBC Record Review)

'An outstanding disc' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'An outstanding recording artist. His new record of rare and brilliant Rachmaninov has a magnetism which from first to last is inescapable' (The Guardian)

Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op 42
composer
June 1931; based on the La Folia theme

Other recordings available for download
Howard Shelley (piano)
Steven Osborne (piano)   September 2014 Release
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Variations on a theme of Corelli were completed in June 1931, during one of Rachmaninov’s European summer breaks. For this, the only work for solo piano he composed after leaving Russia in 1917, he chose the old dance melody known as ‘La Folia’—not actually composed by Corelli, but used by him in his Violin Sonata No 12. Apart from most likely prompting the Sonata revision, the 'Corelli Variations' seem to have been a catalyst for his next new work, the Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra. Not only is the Rhapsody also in the form of variations, but there are several clear premonitions of its ideas in the Corelli set.

Not entirely convinced of the success of the 'Corelli Variations', Rachmaninov generally omitted some of the twenty variations in performance. In three instances (Nos 11, 12 and 19) he even allowed that option in the score. He explained himself drily in a letter to Medtner of 21 December 1931: ‘I was guided by the coughing of the audience. Whenever the coughing increased, I would skip the next variation. Whenever there was no coughing, I would play them in proper order.’ In fact the design works perfectly well without such surgery, the variations grouping themselves into a quasi-four-movement sonata, in which the ‘slow movement’ begins in the major mode after a cadenza-like ‘Intermezzo’.

from notes by David Fanning © 2014


Other albums featuring this work
'Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas' (CDA67936)
Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas
Pre-order CD by post £10.50 CDA67936  September 2014 Release  
'Rachmaninov: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDS44041/8)
Rachmaninov: The Complete Solo Piano Music
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00 CDS44041/8  8CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only  

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