Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto 2


Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff; He was born on April 2, 1873 in Novgorod, Russia, into a family of musicians. At the age of 10, St. Petersburg Conservatory, at the age of 12 he transferred to the Moscow Conservatory. He studied harmony with Arensky, one of the great masters of Russian music, counterpoint with Taneyev and piano with Siloti.

During this period, he met Anton Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky was the name that influenced him the most. The influence of Russian musical romanticism, pioneered by Tchaikovsky, is clearly evident in Rachmaninoff's works.

Rachmaninoff's 1895st symphony, composed in 1, is performed under the direction of Russian composer and conductor Alexander Glazunov. The concerto, which was harshly interpreted by the critics, caused Racchmaninoff to lose his self-confidence, and it was during this period that he began to receive psychological treatment.

These sessions, a form of hypnotic therapy, were intended to encourage Rachmaninoff to compose again.

After three years of therapy, in 1898, Sergei Rachmaninoff composed a new composition; His 2nd Piano Concerto, dedicated to his psychologist, Doctor Nikolai Dahl…


Instruments used in Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto;

They are 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 Trumpets, 4 Horns, 3 Trombones, Timpani, Percussion and Strings.

Introduction and Part I: Moderato

It is not very common in classical music repertoire that piano concertos do not start with orchestra. Generally, the piano is included after the main melody is introduced by the orchestra. Another example of concertos introduced with piano is Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto. The first 10 measures of the introduction of approximately 8 measures are the F note, that is, the IV of the C minor, which is the main tone of the concerto. loops around the degree chord. After the dissolution of the introductory section, where there is a rise between Pianissimo and Fortissimo, the 1st part is fully started.

The section continues with arpeggios covering the very wide register. Meanwhile, strings and clarinetsometimes paired with bassoons and horns) joins.

Announcing the continuous tonic note, a characteristic “Russian Game” (What is meant here is the note C, which gives the tone its name.) appear frequently in the first part of the concerto.

Two different themes stand out in the first part of the concerto. The connection of theme A to the third movement of the concerto is often mentioned. A variation of theme B is found later in the piece.

The section below is the “Coda” part of the work. “Coda” is the part where the message that a part or chapter is ending is given. The coda begins with Pianissimo, ends with triad chords and Fortissimo with a C minor chord.

II. Episode: Adagio Sostenuto

The second part is often named after Rachmaninoff's early works. Especially "RomanceThe melodic structure of Adagio, which has similarities with his work ”, is quite specific.

A classic rondo form (Type of music form created with the ABA scheme) also has a coda part at the end. Rondo is a form that is generally used in the final parts of the works and is associated with the fun feeling.

The work is introduced with a C minor start, just like in the first part.

The flute announces the first part of the main theme, and the clarinet announces the second part.
Piano and orchestra balance each other

Then modulation to the E Major tone is seen.

The orchestra accompanies the main melody atmospherically when it is on the piano, and when the main melody is given to the orchestra or an instrument in the orchestra, the piano accompanies it.

III. Division: Allegro Scherzando

The third part is in a live mode. The C minor start is connected with a great connection from the E Major tone of the second part.

The cadence section performed by the performer raises the energy of the piece. There are two main themes and a closing theme in this section. With a magnificent coda, a finale in accordance with the depth of the concerto is achieved.


Aspen Music Festival Concert
Ohio State University, Chung, So-ham Kim, “An Analysis of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No.2”
Helen Kaufmann, Story of 100 Composers
Robert Gauldin, Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music


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