FRIDAY, January 22, 2021 – 10:06 AM
Rachmaninov: C# Minor Prelude, age 19
This to me is THE recording. It is the composer playing, and he just does things no one else does in parts. It is more interesting, more nuanced, and of course it’s the man who wrote the music. We are often disappointed when composers play, because sometimes they have not practiced enough and fake, or perhaps they are simply not the best pianists around, but Rachmaninov was a pianist other pianists listened to and admired.
If you listen carefully you hear things that no one else thinks of.
This is about bringing out different lines or notes prominently. Here he plays the same phrase twice. The first time he brings out the top note of the RH. Then he brings out the same note in the LH. No one else did that. No one else does it. It’s not in the score. But it’s better.
The music is marked mf right before the ending, and most people do not observe that. It’s marked “dim.” before that meaning that he uses the rest of the piece to get softer and softer, delaying each chord as long as possible
While you listen to this stereo sound be amazed at the technology, because it was recorded not in the usual way but with something called a piano roll.
I’ve only liked about three things this lady has ever recorded. She has one of the best techniques in the world, but I normally don’t believe she things about the music enough. But I try to keep an open mind, and there is something about this that is very special. She used more pedal in the beginning, very much what Rachmaninov wrote but perhaps more so. It has a bit of the sound of Debussy. Perhaps it is this last year that has made her more introspective, and she used the same voicing as Rachmaninov. She also starts the middle section very slowly, which has always been my concept. She leaves out one repeated phrase, which is what Rachmaninov did, so she listened to Rachamninov. Good for her!
Here are other interpretations
His most famous piece…
Rachmaninov wrote this when he was still quite young. Experts differ on the exact timing, some saying age 18 and some saying age 19.
and it remained his most famous composition for the rest of his life. There are now many very few really good recordings of his most famous composition.