Over the last several weeks we have looked at several composers who were also virtuosos of their time. Do you have a favorite who perhaps wasn’t mentioned? This week, let’s wrap things up by looking at the talented pianist and composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943).
|Courtesy of sheetmusicplus.com|
During his time, Rachmaninoff was known as a precise pianist whose interpretations of many of the great virtuosic pieces of the nineteenth century were superb. He found it difficult to simultaneously put his full self into both composing and performing, so often he would focus on one thing at a time. Below you can listen to Rachmaninoff perform one of his own works, Elegie Op. 3, No. 1. What a treat to be able to hear a piano roll of a true master!
Rachmaninoff began his studies with piano under his mother’s tutelage. He later went on to attend the St. Petersburg Conservatory where he remained until his parents separated, causing his grades to suffer. At that point, he moved to the Moscow Conservatory where he lived and studied with Nikolay Zverev. He met Tchaikovsky during this time, who would have a great influence on the young musician.
Join me next time as we learn more about Rachmaninoff as a composer!