Sergei Rachmaninoff


Piano Concerto No. 2

Prelude in C Sharp Minor No. 2

Symphony No. 2

Sonata No. 2 Op. 36

Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was a Russian composer, pianist and music teacher. He is considered one of the most important pianists of the 20th century and was a continuation of Russian Romanticism as a composer. His well-known works include the second and third piano concertos, the prelude in C minor from Morceaux de Fantaisie, his second symphony and Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini.

During his conservatory time, Rachmaninoff composed his first piano concert (1891). This work is known as opus 1. In 1892 he graduated - a year earlier than the average student - and was awarded the prestigious gold medal. Only two students preceded him in the history of the conservatory. In 1895, he started composing his first symphony in the hope that it would bring him even more success. However, the symphony received devastating criticism after its first performance in 1897, presumably due to poor performance; according to his wife because of the fact that the conductor, was drunk. Rachmaninoff became severely depressed but after several attempts of treatment, he started composing again, resulting in the famous second piano concerto. Shortly afterwards he wrote the sonata for cello and piano, which is today considered one of the most important cello pieces of the 20th century.