I love the way he kind of sneaks up on you in this prelude. Slowly lulls you whilst building to a crashing, smashing mid section, and then sneaks away again!On the whole a very ‘poetic’ piece. Played by the great Sviatoslav Richter.
Rachmaninoff Prelude no. 10 Op.32 in B minor. Lento
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.
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!
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
Chopin Fanstasie Impromptu in C sharp minor
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.”
“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
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!