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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

RACHMANINOV, Sergei
b Oneg, near Novgorod, 1 April 1873
d Beverly Hills, 28 March 1943, aged sixty-nine

He came from an aristocratic family whose fortunes were steadily declining. He studied piano at the Conservatories of St Petersburg and Moscow. Lack of satisfaction with his work, and a bad bout of malaria, started the depression that haunted most of the rest of his life; but by 1892 he was being accepted both as a pianist and a composer. He earned very little and was forced to play as an accompanist and to teach, neither of which suited his taste. In 1897 he was offered a second conductorship in the Moscow opera house, and the experience, followed by an invitation to London to compose, play and conduct, restored his finances and his will to continue writing. A return to Russia in 1900 brought back his depression, but a psychologist recommended that the best treatment was to continue writing; and financial help from a friend and a happy marriage in 1902 helped the treatment. After conducting at the Bolshoi from 1904 to 1906 he moved with his family to Dresden; he then went back to Moscow - where his music was now highly esteemed - en route to America for a concert tour in 1909. He returned to Russia in 1910, conducting the Moscow Philharmonic concerts from 1911 to 1914, but left after the 1917 revolution, because his music was now labelled bourgeois'. He played in Scandinavia and America, and eventually settled by Lake Lucerne in 1931. It was a great happiness to him when, in 1939, Russia accepted that his music was no longer decadent. During 1942 and 1943 he toured America, the proceeds of the concerts going to war relief; but in 1943 he died of cancer, and he is buried in the Kensico cemetery near New York.

1890-1 (17-18)

Piano Concert No 1 in F sharp minor

1890-3 (17-20)

Six Songs

1891 (18)

Scherzo for strings

1892 (19)

Prelude and Danse orientale, for cello and piano

Five Morceaux de Fantaisie, for piano (includes the C sharp minor prelude)

Intermezzo

1893 (20)

Aleko, opera

The Rock, fantasy for orchestra

Trio elegiaque, in D minor

Romance and Danse hongroise, for violin and piano

Suite No 1, Fantasy, for two pianos

Six Songs

1894 (21)

Caprice bohemien, for orchestra

Seven Piano Pieces

Six Piano Duets

1895 (22)

Symphony No 1 in D minor

1896 (23)

Six Moments musicaux, for piano

Twelve Songs

Six Songs for female, or boys' voices

1900-06 (27-33)

Twelve Songs

1901 (28)

Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor

Suite No 2 for two pianos

Cello Sonata in G minor

1902 (29)

The Spring, cantata

1903 (30)

Variations on a theme by Chopin, for piano

Ten Preludes for piano

1906 (33)

Francesca da Rimini, opera

The Miserly Knight, opera

Fifteen Songs

1907 (34)

Symphony No 2 in E minor

The Isle of the Dead, symphonic poem

Piano Sonata No 1 in D minor

1909 (36)

Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor

1910 (37)

The Bells, choral symphony (after Poe)

Thirteen Piano Preludes

Liturgy of St John Chrystostom

1911 (38)

Six Etudes-Tableaux, for piano

1912 (39)

Fourteen Songs

1913 (40)

Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor

1915 (42)

Vesper Mass

1916 (43)

Six Songs

Neuf Etudes-Tableaux, for piano (1916-17)

1927 (54)

Piano Concerto No 4 in G minor

1930 (57)

Three Russian Folk Songs for chorus and orchestra (possibly 1927)

1932 (59)

Variations on a Theme by Corelli, for piano

1934 (61)

Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, variations for piano and orchestra

1936 (63)

Symphony No 3 in A minor

1941 (68)

Three Symphonic Dances, for orchestra

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