Based on the Prélude in c sharp minor Op. 3 No. 2 written in 1892 that quickly became world-famous, Rachmaninoff composed a further two collections of Préludes in the years up to 1910. These were also published as a complete volume in 1911. Based on the corresponding models by Chopin, Scriabin and their great forerunner J.S. Bach they comprise a cycle of 24 Préludes in all major and minor keys, but unlike the other ones are not organized systematically according to keys. A final highlight of late Romantic piano music, which no pianist can ignore!
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While the 24 Préludes by Sergei V. Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943) presented here were first published in a single volume in 1911, they were in fact written during three very different periods in the composer’s life. The early Prelude in ck minor op. 3 no. 2 from 1892 was later joined by the two volumes entitled 10 Préludes op. 23 (1902/03) and 13 Préludes op. 32 … more
About the composer
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.
|1873||Born in Semyonovo on April 1. From 1880 receives professional instruction in music.|
|1885–92||Studies music at the Moscow Conservatory.|
|1890–92||Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 1, with the diminished fourth in the main theme typical of his style.|
|1892||Successful performance of his one-act opera “Aleko” (a graduation work). Prelude in C-sharp minor for piano.|
|1897||Unsuccessful 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.|
|1900/01||Composition of the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, in a modified style (broad melodic arcs, transparent compositional style).|
|1904–06||Appointed conductor at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.|
|1906||Premieres of the operas “The Miserly Knight,” Op. 24, and “Francesca da Rimini,” Op. 25.|
|1907||Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27, with whimsical figuration in the woodwinds; Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 28.|
|1909||Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30; symphonic poem “The Isle of the Dead,” Op. 29|
|from 1910||More 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).|
|1917||Rachmaninoff leaves Russia and lives in Stockholm, Copenhagen, the United States (career as pianist), and Switzerland.|
|1926/41||Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40. In 1935/36, Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44.|
|from 1939||He emigrates permanently to the United States.|
|1943||Death in Beverly Hills on March 28.|
About the authors
The new edition is beautifully laid out, with excellent clarity and expansive presentation. (...) Certainly, it is helpful to have Dominik Rahmer's fascinating introductory notes in this new Henle version, which is also to be praised for detailed and informative source notes in three languages.