“..a gift for long and broad melodies
imbued with a resigned melancholy that is never long absent.”
S. Rachmaninoff, Romance for 6 hands
The duet is common and well known to most. Less frequently seen and heard are pieces for 6 hands, which we will explore this week! This is a piece by the great pianist, composer, conductor, Sergei Rachmaninoff. April 1st was the 145th birthday of this Russian composer of the Late Romantic era. We have explored dramatic compositions of his, filled with passion and power. This week's selection explores a composition which showcases a beautiful melody, in a gentler fashion.
In February, we listened to the first and third movement of Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto. This piece begins with a short snippet of 2nd movement of this same piece, completing the concerto. Although it is not included in this piece, the main theme of the 2nd movement is a beautiful melody that may sound familiar to some of you - likely because it has been featured in a popular Eric Carmen song, "All by Myself". In fact, melodies from Rachmaninoff's music have been used in many songs from a wide variety of artists, including multiple Eric Carmen Songs, Frank Sinatra, and even Muse! That is pop, jazz, and rock, all with a hint of Rachmaninoff inspiration!
Enjoy this family performance from Mario Arjero and his children. The complete concerto is linked as well, simply for your enjoyment.
- Describe a scene or a picture that you feel fits this piece of music.
- Including this week's piece, we have listened to snippets of the 3 different movements of a complete concerto. The first movement, the second movement this week, and the third movement. So far, which is your favourite and why? After hearing excerpts that make up this monstrous masterpiece, what do you think is the story that it builds?
"He had the secret of the golden, living tone which comes from the heart ... I was always under the spell of his glorious and inimitable tone which could make me forget my uneasiness about his too rapidly fleeting fingers and his exaggerated rubatos. There was always the irresistible sensuous charm..."