Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Hps 1478) by Sergei RachmaninoffSergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff: ( 1 April 1873- 28 March 1943) He was a composer, pianist, and conductor. (“Sergei Rachmaninoff” was the spelling the composer himself used- and Rachmaninoff is the last name his parents also used before the Soviet’s russification efforts- including when he became a United States citizen. However, alternative transliterations of his name include Sergey or Serge, and Rachmaninov, Rakhmaninoff. ) Rachmaninoff was born in 1873 in Semyonovo, near Novgorod, in north-western Russia. He was born into a noble family of Tatar descent, who had been in the service of the Russian tsars since the 16th century. His parents were both amateur pianists.
Rachmaninov is regarded as one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. He had legendary technical facilities and rhythmic drive, and his large hands were able to cover the interval of a thirteenth on the keyboard (a hand span of approximately twelve inches). His large handspan roughly corresponded with his height; Rachmaninov was 6 feet 6 inches (1.98m) tall according to sources. He also had the ability to play complex compositions upon first hearing. Many recordings were made by the Victor Talking Machine Company recording label of Rachmaninov’s performing his own music, as well as works from the standard repertory.
10 Must-Hear Recordings of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini , Op. It is written for solo piano and symphony orchestra, closely resembling a piano concerto. The work was written at his Villa, the Villa Senar, in Switzerland, according to the score, from July 3 to August 18, Rachmaninoff himself, a noted interpreter of his own works, played the solo piano part at the piece's premiere at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 7, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski. After a brief introduction, the first variation is played before the theme. Paganini's theme is stated on strings with the piano picking out salient notes, after the first variation. Rachmaninoff likely got the idea of having a variation before the theme from the finale of Beethoven's Eroica symphony.
Franz Liszt transcribed the work for piano, and Brahms wrote his own variations on the tune for solo piano as well. What made this work so popular? He was known throughout Europe for his technical prowess as well as the works he composed to show off his unmatched skills on the violin. Before the era of recording technology, the most common way to hear music was in the home, and the easiest works to perform at least, logistically speaking were solo works for instruments like piano and violin. In most theme-and-variations works, the form is just as it sounds—the theme is presented, and then the composer creates variations on that theme. After this, the violins fittingly present the theme, as the piano reenters by delicately outlining that same harmonic skeleton just demonstrated in the first variation.
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op (Rachmaninoff, Sergei) For 2 Pianos (Rachmaninoff). Complete Performance (EU) *# - MB -
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The last of Paganini 's 24 Caprices for violin has been the subject of many sets of variations, including the composer's own set of 12, Brahms ' brilliant Paganini Variations for piano, those by twentieth century composers Lutoslawski, Blacher, Lloyd-Webber, and others. But the best-known off-shoot of this Caprice is Rachmaninov 's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, not least because one of its variations -- the 18th -- has become more famous than the Paganini tune it is based on.
Gaunt, his emaciated figure cloaked in priestly black, Paganini performed feats of wizardry on the violin that were simply unimagined until he burst upon the European concert scene in Not only were his virtuoso pyrotechnics unsurpassed, but his performance of simple melodies was of such purity and sweetness that it moved his audiences to tears. So far was he beyond the competition that he seemed almost, well, superhuman. Perhaps, the rumor spread, he had special powers, powers not of this earth. Perhaps, Faust-like, he had exchanged his soul for the mastery of his art. The legend propagated and fostered, it is now known, by Paganini himself had begun. Paganini, like most virtuoso instrumentalists of the 19th century, composed much of his own music.