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Bach Great Composers pay tribute to other "Greats" Piano Rachmaninoff Violin

Rachmaninoff does Bach!

Here’s another example of how interesting it is when a composer does ‘transcriptions’ of another’s work. (*for more, see the Post titled, “Great Composers pay tribute to other Greats”)

Here are 3 movements from Bach’s Partita #3 for solo violin in E major – transcribed by Rachmaninoff for piano.

First the original violin followed by piano.  (*after the music read a more in depth analysis of Rachmaninoff’s effort)

Nobuko Imai_08_Partita No. 3, BWV 1006 I. Preludio


Idil Biret_06_01_J. S. BACH Prelude, Gavotte and Gigue Prelude


Nobuko Imai_10_Partita No. 3, BWV 1006 III. Gavotte en Rondeau


Idil Biret_06_02_J. S. BACH Prelude, Gavotte and Gigue Gavotte


Nobuko Imai_13_Partita No. 3, BWV 1006 VI. Gigue


Idil Biret_06_03_J. S. BACH Prelude, Gavotte and Gigue Gigue


With a few exceptions, Rachmaninov was generally quite faithful to the source music of his transcriptions. In this Bach effort, however, he added contrapuntal parts and harmonies because the original was written for solo violin. Yet the music has a mostly Bachian flavor and some have surmised that Bach himself would have made very similar modifications had he fashioned a keyboard version. That said, there are more than a few snippets of Rachmaninov’s voice in this effort, especially in the opening prelude where there are echoes in the contrapuntal writing of some of the Etudes-Tableaux and the first movement of a work to come in 1940, the Symphonic Dances. The prelude is lively and light, busy with typical joyous Bachian contrapuntal activity. The ensuing Gavotte is even lighter and playful — gracefully dainty, actually — just the kind of music not expected for Rachmaninov to have a hand in. The closing Gigue is also light, but Rachmaninov gives it a little muscle in his bass harmonies. He also makes it quite a colorful affair, all of its nearly two minutes brimming with an infectious joy.

Cello LONG PLAYING SELECTIONS Piano Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff Long Play

My quick 2 cents worth about Rachmaninoff! I feel that although he composed some of the most exquisite melodies, somehow he never quite “gets there”. In the way Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart (amongst others!) construct a melody/theme; and when they want to Climax – they do. Rachi, on the other hand, I feel, just almost takes us there!

Any comments?

Enjoy this Long Play.

Prelude Op. 23, #6

Sonata for Cello & piano

Italian Polka

Prelude Op. 32 #5

“Lilacs: Lilacs”

Melodie in E, Op. 3 #3

Four Pieces # 1

Merge Rachmaninoff

Balakirev Chopin Liszt Madmen of the Piano Piano Rachmaninoff

Madmen of the Piano

Madmen of the Piano (*and the piano’s supreme emotional power –  Inspired by, and dedicated to  Tam from Retravision in Byron Bay, because he just loves the wild piano stuff! )

Liszt, Chopin and Rachmaninoff

(*Yes indeed … there are lots of other ‘Madmen Pianists’ – but these guys take the cake)

I was thinking the other day – What instruments convey the most ‘intensity’? Drums? Electric guitar (ala Jimmy Hendrix!) … maybe the Sax? (John Coltrain)

For me it’s the piano. Done by the “Masters.”

Here are some intense pieces; some supremely difficult to play: Pieces that blend that ‘wild’ quality – with emotional glory!

Sorry Tam! I didn’t do what I originally intended; which was to introduce only the purely ‘berserk’ numbers. I know you love ‘em … but hey – I might lose listeners!

Dear listener – if these pieces move you, click on the Title on the right, “My Personal Bias” You’ll find gorgeous piano pieces without as much intensity.

Chopin Ballade #1


Rachmaninoff prelude in G Minor (played by “THE Piano man” – no .. not Billy Joel !! but The Big H – Horowitz)

Rachmaninoff prelude in g- minor Vladimir Horowitz-piano


Liszt erlkonig-op1


Chopin Fanstasie Impromptu in C sharp minor


Rachmaninoff preludes-no-10-in-b-minor-lento


Liszt hungarian rhapsody no-2


Here’s another one. This piece is often mentioned in the “hardest to play” category. It is surely “Intense”!

Islamey an Oriental Fantasy by Mily Balakirev. And here’s what a critic said:

Despite some dismissal that the work is merely a showpiece, Islamey has had a lasting impact on piano solo music; Ravel once remarked to a friend that his goal in writing Gaspard de la nuit was to compose a piece that was “more difficult than Balakirev’s Islamey.”

Balakirev Islamey (Oriental Fantasy)

Rachmaninoff Remember that mid 70's Pop hit?

Remember that mid 70’s Pop hit?

“All by Myself” by Eric Carmen. No wonder it was such a smash hit! Based on one of Rachmaninoff’s most rousing and gorgeous themes. (at the time Carmen thought the music was in the public domain … but it wasn’t! He had to come to an arrangement with the Rachmaninoff estate)

Rachmaninoff piano-concerto-no-2-in-c-minor-second movement

Done to death but still irresistible Puccini Rachmaninoff

Done to Death but still Irresistible

Hijacked by car ads, Hollywood tearjerkers and Muzac/elevator music; they remain eternally and universally appealing!

Rachmaninoff – Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini. Heaps of these versions on a “theme by Paganini” by a number of Interperters and Composers. I like this particular one by Rachmaninoff /Performed by  John Barry from “Somewhere in Time” – The movie.



What can you say?! Puccini’s O Mio Bambino Caro (from the movie A room with a view)



Not sure if this is the best version (by the St. Louis Symphony) – But it’s good enough!

fantasia on greensleeves

Beethoven Brahms Chopin Liszt Mendelssohn My personal bias - emotionally moving piano Piano Rachmaninoff

My Personal Bias – emotionally moving piano

A selection of solo piano pieces that fit my bias … Dreamy, melancholy, peaceful or joyously uplifting.

Here is a handful of the pianos ‘Master Composers.’ (*this bias is due no doubt to the neural imprinting from birth – of my father’s Chopin blasting!)  SEE : ABOUT ME on right hand panel

Rachmaninoff prelude in D major op. 23 no. 4


Liszt – Un Sospiro (Italian for “a sigh” – although there is some doubt Liszt ever sanctioned or used this title!) It’s the third of Liszt’s trois etudes de concert.



Mendelssohn op 053 no. 2 from his series Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without words)


Another from the series: op 019 no. 3 in A Major “Jagerlied”

Another from the series: op 019 no. 3 in A Major “Jagerlied”


Brahms’ Waltz – op. 39 / 15 in A flat major


Beethoven piano sonata 8 – adagio cantibile [listen]


Chopin Nocturne op. 15 in F sharp