7th BSEC Month of Culture
1-30 November 2023
Music - Russian Federation
In 2023, music-lovers all around the world celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of the famous Russian composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff. This anniversary is included on the List of Commemorations and Anniversaries observed by UNESCO.
Sergei Rachmaninoff is considered one of the greatest pianists of all time and the last great representative of the Russian Romantic tradition as a composer. Rachmaninoff's music is an amalgamation of traditional Russian motifs - peasant tunes, church and bell themes - and European classics.
His family nurtured Sergei’s love of music -his parents were amateur pianists-, and he began learning to play the piano at the age of five. Moreover, his grandmother often took him with her to St. Isaac's, Kazan and other St. Petersburg cathedrals, where he was deeply inspired by the musical rhythm and singing of the church choir.
During his student years, Sergei composed dozens of works, including the First Piano Concerto and the opera ‘’Aleko’’. As a result, he was awarded the Grand Gold Medal and the title of ‘’free artist’’. As P.I. Tchaikovsky highly appreciated his achievements, he proposed including nineteen-year-old Rachmaninoff's opera ‘’Aleko’’ - written based on Pushkin's poem ‘’The Gypsies’’ - into the repertoire of the Bolshoi Theater. This was the beginning of his professional career as a composer.
Some of Rachmaninoff’s most popular works are the operas ‘’Aleko’’, ‘’The Miserly Knight’’, ‘’Francesca da Rimini’’, as well as the Second Piano Concerto and the Second Symphony. During the 1920s and 1930s, Rachmaninoff performed 50-60 concerts every season in Europe and North America. In 1941, the musician completed his last work “Symphonic Dances”, in which ecclesiastical motifs are heard.
The Second Piano Concerto is widely regarded as the greatest piano concerto of all time. Listeners voted it their favorite in this year's Classic FM Hall of Fame, one of the largest surveys of classical music tastes.
Immerse yourself in the musician’s unique world through the following:
- Virtual tour of the Museum-Estate of S. V. Rachmaninoff “Ivanovka”
- Interactive orchestra performing an excerpt from the Second Piano Concerto
Photographs: Portraits of S. Rachmaninoff │ Russian National Museum of Music
Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
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