Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff

There is something about this piano concerto that fuels my emotions no matter how many times I listen to it. Perhaps it’s the grandeur and passion of its dark haunting melodic lines or the stark contrast of beautiful colours between movements.

Or it could simply be the creative genius of Rachmaninoff who dedicated the success of this piano concerto to Russian physician Nikolai Dahl, who helped the composer recover from several years of deep clinical depression  as a result of his “failed” first symphony composed immediately before this masterpiece.

Sergei Rachmaninoff - early 1900s

Sergei Rachmaninoff - early 1900s

I feel a sense of excitement as 10 June 2011 draws closer because a group of friends and I will head to the Sydney Opera House to listen to this masterpiece being played by Lang Lang, whose performances todate have dazzled worldwide audiences and is widely considered the pre-eminent concert pianist of the world at the moment.

The pianist’s synopsis of this piece includes – “makes you start dreaming”, “always under pressure”, “always not comfortable”, “beautiful, huge lines that shows the landscape of Russia and the Russian soul”.

The famous song of the 70s “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen borrows heavily from melodic motives of the second movement of this piano concerto where Carmen thought was in public domain. Eventual agreement with the Rachmaninoff estate meant later writing credits also acknowledged the composer in addition to Carmen. Growing up as a 70s kid helps as this beautiful song transports me back to my childhood.

Listen to more Rachmaninoff music.

More about the concert after 10 June 2011.

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8 Responses to Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor

  1. This is one of the piece I love the most. Too bad the YouTube video is disabled in Germany so I can’t watch it. :( I’ve heard an interpretation of this piano concerto by Lang Lang once, but I must admit that it wasn’t my favorite one because he over-emphasized the beginning chords in the left so much that the filigree runs in the right were totally drowned out. (I think it was an early recording, though, perhaps he plays it differently now.) I have a recording by Vladimir Ashkenazy which I love very much.

    • Chopinand says:

      Hi Kath,

      Yes you would have listened to the same video on this post and I do agree he did pound on those opening chords and the filigree runs are important. However, I always find Lang Lang’s interpretations offer fresh perspectives as he dares to push established boundaries observed by most pianists.

      • I really like Lang Lang and think he’s an amazing pianist! Have you read his biography? It’s really interesting and very insightful.

        • Chopinand says:

          Many non-musicians dislike Lang Lang for trivial reasons like his facial expressions etc.

          Purists dislike him because this group of people find it hard to think outside the box and I think they sometimes feel threatened when the orthodox is being challenged. Therefore, their defence is to discredit.

          Lang Lang should be praised for his courage in pushing established boundaries which conformist musicians are limited by. His playing offers fresh perspectives and many listeners are uncomfortable because they lack the imagination and creativity to conceive new ideas. Music is not a science and whilst there are boundaries, flexibility and how we define our own relationship with music should be the key to greater appreciation.

          I have not read his biography but intend to do so. I am really excited because I’m going to see him play this piece at the Sydney Opera House on 10 June. It should be an amazing concert!! :)

          • Another thing I value very highly in Lang Lang’s playing is that he actually has fun. With other pianists it’s often just serious business, but when you listen to Lang Lang, you feel in every moment that he really loves the music. I also think he brings classical music near to a lot of people, also younger people.

            I don’t like when people citicize his playing with superficial arguments, like his facial expressions. Criticizing is so easy, and you’ll always find something when you want to criticize. People should rather try to do it better! 😉

  2. … Or they should just be silent and listen. Perhaps that would be the best to do at all. :)

  3. feliz says:

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