Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No,2 in C Minor, OP 18 I_Moderato

Wow, the title is a handful! I encountered this piece on a Japanese dorama and I liked it. As an amateur classical music fan, I can't believe how much this piece can stir my emotions. The moderato starts as if it is building up on something. A very intense start, full of fervor I can imagine the faces of the conductor and the pianist on this one. It ebbs on the middle preparing itself for another chance to explode - slowly the piece builds up and the distinct sound of the piano is making itself heard as if emphasizing the fact that it is a piano concerto. This is probably the most amateurish description of Rachmaninoff's work but who cares?

According to Wikipedia, when it first came out the symphony was derided by critics but now it is recognized as a masterpiece. (It reminds me of the Sydney Opera House when it was first unveiled it was also scoffed at by experts but now the structure is recognized as an architectural wonder.)People.

Rachmaninoff began work on his Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18 in the latter part of the summer of 1900. Rachmaninoff, having regained his confidence, composed the second and third movements “quickly and easily” (125). However, he had much difficulty with the first movement. He premiered the work in incomplete form at Ziloti’s suggestion in Moscow on 2 December 1900. This was a daunting performance for Rachmaninoff, since the continued restoration of his self-confidence as a composer hinged on its reception. Furthermore, he had contracted a bad cold days before the performance. Also, this was to be his first performance with an orchestra in eight years, having played with an orchestra only three times prior. Moreover, Ziloti was to make his professional conducting debut with this performance. Luckily, the performance went off without a hitch, and Rachmaninoff was greatly reassured. The concerto was premiered in its complete form on 27 October 1901. It was a tremendous success with the audiences. The concerto quickly gained international fame with Ziloti’s performances in January 1902 with the Leipzig Gewandhaus under Nikisch and under Sapellnikov in London in May of the same year.

The opening of the concerto begins with a series of swelling piano chords that are punctuated by bass octaves. Once again, this passage brings to mind the sound of bells, heard from far off at first but growing more powerful with each stroke. It is interesting to compare this opening with the final bars of his Prelude in C Sharp Minor. It is possible that he may have derived the opening of the concerto by inverting the layout and dynamics of the final bars of the prelude, in which the bass octaves precede and not follow the chords. As is common with Rachmaninoff, the opening theme has a distinctly Russian sound. Rachmaninoff’s friend, Medtner, described this Russian quality of the Second Concerto’s main theme, stating that it is “not only the theme of his life but always conveys the impression of being one of the most strikingly Russian of themes, and only because the soul of this theme is Russian…every time, from the first bell stroke, you feel the figure of Russia rising up to her full height” (127)...link

The effect of Rachmaninoff's work could still be felt today like these young kids from Dipolog. Lucky kids, I only got to hear Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 THIS YEAR. Though he was discussed at Music Class in High School nobody bothered to let us listen to his works. I was fortunate enough to hear the works of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn thru the BBC World Service documentary on great composers and...Warner Bros. and Tom and Jerry which I will explain later.

MANILA, Philippines - Classical music got a much-needed shot in the arm in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte, when over 800 students from different schools in this city cheered pianists Ingrid Sala Santamaria and Reynaldo Reyes Friday last week on their 15th Romantic Piano Concerto Journey Tour.

Held at the Atrium of Top Plaza Hotel with a view of the sea, Santamaria and Reyes played Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and were rewarded with a standing ovation.

“We are really excited because this is our first time to watch a classical concert,” said students Jane Krish Erasmo, Franz Roezyl Lugo and Kathleen Alberca from the Dipolog Pilot Elementary School. “Before this, we only had exposure to rock bands like Bamboo and Cueshe,” they added.

For this rare classical event in the city, 10 men were hired to move two upright pianos to the fifth floor of the hotel through the stairs...link

Rachmaninoff plays his Piano Concerto No.2 in C Major OP 18 I_Moderato

Related Posts by Categories

No comments: