Sergei Rachmaninoff stands as the culmination of the Russian symphonic tradition. An extraordinary pianist, conductor and composer, his music draws directly from the most genuinely romantic universe of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Frédéric Chopin, in a sublimation of form in the service of spontaneity and expression. Rachmaninoff’s work is sentimental, refined and elegant, and shows an equal fascination with gypsy music and Russian folklore. Carry on reading
The Symphonic Dances are one of the last contributions in the composer’s oeuvre. Composed during his period in the US in the form of a suite and steeped in nostalgia for his native country, they incorporate different fragments of orthodox liturgical music that the composer had used previously.
It is in his piano and orchestra concertos that Rachmaninoff’s talent as a pianist-composer can perhaps be enjoyed to the fullest. All of them having been conceived to be performed by the composer, his Concerto no. 2 was composed after the public failure of the premiere of his First Symphony and a period of retreat and search for his own voice. The Concerto no. 4 is the least-known work by the composer, due to its stylistic and formal distance from its predecessors. With elements borrowed from both jazz and the avant-garde scene of the 1920s, it is a work of creative maturity and deep expression.