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Difficulty (Explanation)
Other titles of this difficulty
Piano Sonata no. 2 b flat minor op. 36
9 difficult

About the Composer


Sergej Rachmaninow

Composer and pianist who continued and expanded the late-Romantic tradition; he prepared the way for Prokofiev and Shostakovich. His oeuvre comprises orchestral works, piano pieces, choral works, several operas, and numerous songs.

1873Born in Semyonovo on April 1. From 1880 receives professional instruction in music.
1885–92Studies music at the Moscow Conservatory.
1890–92Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 1, with the diminished fourth in the main theme typical of his style.
1892Successful performance of his one-act opera “Aleko” (a graduation work). Prelude in C-sharp minor for piano.
1897Unsuccessful premiere of the Symphony No. 1, Op. 13 (with abrupt contrasts). First experiences as an opera conductor at Moscow’s Mamontov Theater. He becomes acquainted with Fyodor Shalyapin, later his friend.
1900/01Composition of the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, in a modified style (broad melodic arcs, transparent compositional style).
1904–06Appointed conductor at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.
1906Premieres of the operas “The Miserly Knight,” Op. 24, and “Francesca da Rimini,” Op. 25.
1907Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27, with whimsical figuration in the woodwinds; Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 28.
1909Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30; symphonic poem “The Isle of the Dead,” Op. 29
from 1910More complex compositional technique (enhanced polyphony, ambiguous harmonies, fast rhythmic alterations) in Thirteen Preludes for piano, Op. 32; “Études-tableaux,” Op. 33 (1911); Fourteen Songs, Op. 34 (1910–16).
1917Rachmaninoff leaves Russia and lives in Stockholm, Copenhagen, the United States (career as pianist), and Switzerland.
1926/41Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40. In 1935/36, Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44.
from 1939He emigrates permanently to the United States.
1943Death in Beverly Hills on March 28.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

About the Authors

Dominik Rahmer (Editor)

Dr. Dominik Rahmer, born in 1971 in Mainz, studied musicology, philosophy and maths in Bonn. He did his Magister Artium in 1999 and his doctorate in 2006 with a thesis on the music criticism of Paul Dukas.

From 2001 to 2011 he was employed at Boosey & Hawkes/Bote & Bock in Berlin, where he also worked on the Critical Edition of the Works of Jacques Offenbach (OEK). Since 2011 he has been an editor at G. Henle Publishers in Munich, with a particular focus on French and Russian music and works for wind instruments.


Marc-André Hamelin (Fingering)

For anyone interested in playing, studying or getting to know the work, Dominik Rahmer’s brand new edition for Henle Verlag will be of profound interest. (...) It is left to the performer to decide how best to proceed, but with such a clear text direct Henle’s outstanding presentation of the notation, which is as ever well-spaced, clearly and beautifully engraved on cream paper already makes this new edition the one to own, but the addition of Hamelin’s fingering also adds considerable appeal, and will undoubtedly be highly valued by concert pianists following him in preparing this work for performance.

Pianodao, 2018

Der interessierte Pianist steht freilich zunächst einmal vor der Frage, welche der beiden Fassungen für ihn die richtige ist. Da die neue Urtext-Ausgabe aus dem Hause Henle beide Fassungen beinhaltet, kann er sie bequem miteinander vergleichen. ... Die revidierte Ausgabe wurde auf der Grundlage der Erstausgabe von 1931 erstellt. Etwaige Korrekturen offensichtlicher Stichfehler durch den Herausgeber sind in den Einzelbemerkungen minutiös nachgewiesen.

Piano News, 2019

Dominik Rahmer hat nun im Henle-Verlag beide Fassungen des Komponisten in einem Band veröffentlicht, und man kann somit bequem Takt für Takt die Unterschiede studieren. Das Notenbild ist – wie üblich bei Henle – selbst in der überladenen Erstfassung übersichtlich und gut lesbar. Die Fingersätze verraten den gewieften Praktiker und stammen von Marc-André Hamelin, der ja nicht nur dieses Repertoire bestens kennt.

Schweizer Musikzeitung, 2019