9 best works of Sergey Rachmaninov Vasilyevich

Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.

The great composer was passionately faithful to the traditions of Russian music. At the same time, he managed to bring something new into it, creating an inexhaustible force for the development and enrichment of Russian musical traditions. Nearly Rakhmaninov’s half-century creative period survived the present evolution. But, despite the changes in the creative appearance of the composer, its integrity, recognition was preserved. Among ordinary listeners Rachmaninov was popular thanks to a passionate, incredibly exciting lyrics, truthfulness and poetry of the musical expressions. Your attention the most famous works of eminent classic.

The genius of Russian classics: the best works of Rachmaninov

Nomination a place Composition rating
Overview of the best works of Rachmaninov 1 Opera “Aleko” 4.2
2 Poem “The Bells” 4.3
3 Piano concert number 2 4.4
4 Paganini Rhapsody 4.5
5 Suite “Symphonic Dances” 4.6
6 Opera “The Mean Knight” 4.7
7 Opera “Francesca di Rimini” 4.8
8 Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 13, for accompanied voice the piano 4.9
9 Piano concert number 3 5.0

Opera “Aleko”

Rating: 4.2

In the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory there are boards with names graduates who graduated from a higher musical institution with a golden a medal. Among them, Sergei Rachmaninov, who graduated from the conservatory with honors as a composer. His thesis became opera Aleko, based on the Pushkin poem Gypsies.

The one-act lyric psychological opera was written Rachmaninoff is simply brilliant. This is a youthful work (young the composer was 19 years old at that time) deserved admiration Tchaikovsky, who in every possible way contributed to the production of opera and even asked Rachmaninov for permission to show Aleko along with own opera “Iolanta”.

Rachmaninov was incredibly passionate about his thesis and created it in record time – only 17 days. it testified to a passionate preoccupation with creativity and remarkable talent of a young man. Libretto for Aleko wrote famous theater figure Nemirovich-Danchenko.

The reference performance of the main part in the opera – the role of Aleko – considered a friend of Rachmaninoff, the legendary Russian bass Chaliapin. It is curious that his first incarnation in this work was rather strange: he was making up under Pushkin. The fact is that the first performance of the opera Aleko took place on the 100th anniversary of the birthday of the great Russian poet, playwright and prose writer, and he Chaliapin identified Pushkin with Aleko.

The opera premiered in April 1893 at the Bolshoi. Theater in Moscow. The performance was very successful. Present at the premiere, Tchaikovsky applauded so that he almost fell out of lodges.

It should be borne in mind that in the libretto, the Pushkin poem is strongly shortened: only a moment of painful jealousy was left and tragic denouement. The opera begins very actively, instantly introducing into a tense situation. However librettist managed to capture the main idea of ​​the poem: leading to conflict clash of gypsies far from civilization and proud, lonely Aleko, who escaped from the “bondage of stuffy cities” and passionately dreaming find peace under the cover of nomads. Aleko was cursed by his society and gypsies, he also brings misfortune, for which they him rejected and he is alone again.

Poem “The Bells”

Rating: 4.3

A unique work, and certainly one of the most famous in the composer’s work was written at a time when Rachmaninoff only sketched a completely different musical work. But in the summer of 1912 he received an anonymous letter in which talked about how perfect for writing music poem by Edgar Poe “The Bells” translated by Balmont and, accordingly, its text was attached.

The poem really interested the composer, and he immediately set to work, and he worked, according to the memoirs the author himself, “with fever.” Composition afterwards became one of the most beloved in the “piggy bank” of Rachmaninoff, which not surprising, because from childhood he was fascinated by the ringing of bells. Name the author of the letter became known only after the death of the composer. Them it turned out to be Maria Danilova – a student of the cellist Bukinik.

After the release of the work of Marietta Shaginyan – Soviet the writer with whom Rachmaninoff shared his creative life, revealed the strange dedication of the poem. It has already been done for some time. time after publication: “To my friend Willem Mengelberg and his Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. ”

The fact is that Metner is a Russian pianist, the composer is pretty coolly met the output of the poem of Rachmaninov. And after some time at a rehearsal of a Beethoven concert between him and the conductor Mengelberg, a conflict arose, which ended in the refusal of the first participation in the concert. This case excited the musical public.

Edgar Poe’s poem consists of 4 parts. The same structure has musical composition: these are four paintings of different moods, recreating different stages of human life. The first two are dedicated the sound of bells and wedding bells – funny, serene happy. The other two announce fire and funeral – riddled with fear, sadness, tragic. The bells poem was written for three mixed choir and three soloists accompanied the orchestra.

Piano concert number 2

Rating: 4.4

It was with the second concert for piano that Rachmaninoff began new age in music. This piece sounded like a mighty alarm after a 3-year break associated with the failure of the first symphonic composition trampled into dust by critics and not understood by musicians. Contemporaries heard at the Piano Concert No. 2 voice of time: its tension, a sense of change, power.

After that, the concert genre for Rachmaninov becomes the main one: it is full, brilliant and incredibly large-scale embodied all the ideas composer. A new stage in his life begins for him. Under consideration the work is dedicated to the famous metropolitan neuropathologist and the hypnotist Dahl, who helped the composer strengthen his nervous system and recover from a moral shock from failures.

It was after the creation of the Piano Concerto No. 2 that Rachmaninoff was put on a par with the giants of Russian music. All doubts search, inability to determine one’s path are far behind. The concert became one of the most popular works of the great Russian genius due to artistic beauty, expressiveness, and, unconditionally masterfully embodied mood of joyful rise, exciting anticipation of future bright changes.

Characteristic features of harmony, instrumentation of the 2nd concert for pianos become defining for major creative Rachmaninoff period. By the way, in the second piano for the first time an incredible tandem of lyrical melodic with variant singing development. Two main trends of Russian music incredibly merged together thanks to a unique melodic gift of the author.

Paganini Rhapsody

Rating: 4.5

The work belongs to a number of works created in later years. creativity of Rachmaninov. This is a unique combination of the “old” style, used by the composer as a legacy of the 19th century, and the “new” a style that marked the emergence of jazz, pop genres and elements of radically new music. Contemporary author of criticism noted the incredible virtuosity and brightness of rhapsody. Today, when the debate about the composer’s “old-fashioned” sank into oblivion, the work is seen in a different light.

Rachmaninoff himself, known as the “keeper” of traditional musical values, said: “before setting off for a new the world … make … efforts … to get to know the old … “. He believed that there is still “there are still many opportunities.”

For a rhapsody written as a variation, Rachmaninoff used the theme of the legendary 24th caprice for Paganini’s violin. This theme symbolizes the era of romanticism, and frankly can be considered a kind of “double” of the genius Paganini, whose talent remained a mystery to contemporaries.

But almost at the very beginning of Rhapsody, another topic appears, borrowed by Rachmaninov from another no less famous works of the Middle Ages – Catholic chants Dies Irae (“Day of Wrath”). She had for the author a special, very personal the meaning that is revealed throughout the work genius.

Both themes appearing in the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody carry the meaning of “old” music and gradually begin to travel through different styles and genres. 24 variations as 24 elements of a fascinating a journey full of events, having an unusual end, interpreted each listener in his own way.

Suite “Symphonic Dances”

Rating: 4.6

The work was created in a very difficult period for the composer: the Second World War began, and Rakhmaninov and his wife left their beloved France in the US just a few days before, and their daughter remained and communication with her was quickly lost. There were no more world tour and summer vacation in a villa, long established in family tradition.

Overcome by anxious thoughts about the fate of his daughter and the whole Europe, about the foggy future, Rachmaninoff in an amazingly short time creates the last symphonic composition in his work, which was originally called Fantastic Dances. IN explicitly laid down by the author in his last orchestral work autobiographical notes. Initial version of the suite Conditional names were assumed for each part of the program: I – Day, II – Twilight, III – Midnight.

Here, obviously, it was not about the time of day, but about the stages human life, and the peak stage was considered the initial individual development. Subsequently, the composer abandoned the idea give programmatic explanations, and the names were removed. Rachmaninov dedicated suite to Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and his to conductor Eugene Ormandy.

The main part of the first part of the work is a peculiar march-scherzo: it is full of dance notes, has expressive a melody. A solo instrument is a saxophone with live and warm timbre. The second part is a bright contrast against the background of the first: light flute-clarinet passages and violin solos gradually give way to a waltz theme. Quivering motifs appear in the music, replaced by notes of anxiety and drama.

And finally, the last part is the center of the whole work, incredibly bright, powerful and massive. Listening to her feels rapid movement to a gloomy, horrific vision of death. Various episodes are constantly replacing each other: lyrical, terrible, strong-willed and courageous. The struggle of different forces leads to victory of courage.

Opera “The Mean Knight”

Rating: 4.7

This chamber opera is rather unusual: there is not the slightest a bright ray, not a single female image, lyrical beginning, plug-in numbers. In The Mean Knight, everything is subordinated only to gold and avarice, everything sounds gloomy and ominous. This is a vivid tragedy. In 1903 the young, but already successful composer begins work on a new work, deciding to take as a basis a small Pushkin’s tragedy of the same name. Rachmaninov practically did not contribute changes to the text, only slightly reduced by removing the names of some characters and changing punctuation to create the desired stage intonation.

Creating his creation, the composer set himself the main the task (like Pushkin when writing a poem) is “image … passions and outpourings of the soul of man. “Everything else has gone for him in the background. That is why the characteristic of time and place The action is very voluminous and concise.

Despite the great flow of music and powerful performance, a piece is rarely put on stage or sounds in fragments and There are two reasons for this. The first is the lack of women’s parties, the second is lack of closed arias or ensembles that could execute separately.

Work on the work went quickly and in less than six months the composer finishes the opera. However, before the production a couple of years until Rachmaninoff completes another opera – Francesca di Rimini. “In early 1906, he presents the completed work. a group of musicians at a traditional meeting with the head of the composer Schools of St. Petersburg – Rimsky-Korsakov. Vocal parts then performed by the composer’s friend – Fedor Chaliapin.

As Rimsky-Korsakov later recalled his impressions after listening to the opera: “The music of the opera is very talented … but … the main attention of the composer is in the orchestra, and the vocal part is as if adapted to it. “Premiere of the opera The “mean knight” took place on the stage of the Bolshoi in Moscow. Himself Rachmaninov hoped to participate in the play friend Chaliapin, but he directly expressed his opinion that the opera is not on the same level as Pushkin’s poem. After this relationship between them gradually cooled down.

In the first season, opera was given only 4 times. And although instead of Chaliapin the less convincing Baklanov performed, the work had resounding success. But, nevertheless, Rachmaninov removed the opera from repertoire.

Opera “Francesca di Rimini”

Rating: 4.8

8 years after graduating from the conservatory, in 1904 Rachmaninov holds the post of conductor in the capital’s Bolshoi Theater and leads his Russian repertoire. In this position he works in for two years, while not leaving composer activity. It was during these years that he created the opera Francesca di Rimini.

After the incredible success of his first (examination) opera “Aleko” Rachmaninov decides to return to the chamber genre again: he is not entices the creation of a full-evening performance with powerful choral scenes, involving ballet and many characters. The plot used by Rachmaninoff before him was repeatedly met in music: the story of lovers from Rimini, vividly told by Dante in his outstanding poem “Divine Comedy” was a favorite topic many composers.

It was to this story that Tchaikovsky addressed when creating eponymous with the poem of symphonic fantasy. Outstanding the librettist managed to get the perfect solution – capacious and bright the story that Rachmaninoff used. Idea of ​​writing a poem “Francesca di Rimini” came to him back in 1900, when he went to Italy to the famous Russian bass – Fedor Chaliapin, preparing for the time to debut in La Scala in the role of Mephistopheles.

According to the idea of ​​Rachmaninov, in the center of the poem was supposed to be a love duet. But the composer postponed work on the composition “in the long box” for four whole years and returned to the work only after completing the “Mean Knight”. It is noteworthy that the premiere of both operas took place on one day – January 11 (24), 1906 at the Bolshoi Theater Moscow under the control of the author himself. The main parts were performed prominent artists – Smirnov, Baklanov, Salina.

Francesca di Rimini is a work similar to the cantata and orchestral poem. This is a chamber opera, the contents of which colorfully conveyed by the orchestra, the action on stage takes place continuously, without any division into numbers. When listening to the viewer has a clear picture, immersing in a completely different world. Vocal parts and orchestral expressive means harmonize, striving for one artistic goal, and delicately reveal a complex psychological image in all its confrontation emotional passions.

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 13, for accompanied voice the piano

Rating: 4.9

The work was written exclusively for the performance of soprano or tenor. But most often preference is given to the first option. Vocalise first appeared in print in 1912 and was considered concluding from “Fourteen Songs, Opus 34.” Composition dedicated to Antonina Nezhdanova – Russian-Soviet opera to the singer.

Vocalization as a genre of music is performed without words, in a vowel sound. AND in most cases is an exercise for development performing vocal technique and identifying his voice features and capabilities. There are among such exercises and concert options. Rachmaninov’s “vocalization” is one of those.

In the spring of 1915, the composer showed the first sketches of the work Antonina Nezhdanova. Having driven away vocalization, Rachmaninoff immediately did a few vocal adjustments, listening to the tips great opera singer. It took him some more time to in order to prepare the final musical version, which radically different from the original.

At the beginning of 1916, the singer performed “Vocalization” accompanied by Orchestra in the presence of the author himself. Grateful and impressed Rachmaninov left Nezhdanova the first version of the manuscript with his an autograph she carefully kept, being touched by the like with a gesture. As the performer later said: “I am infinite rejoiced that part of the well-deserved success also belonged to to me…”.

“Vocalization” is considered one of the most famous works great composer. Paradoxically, but in most cases it can be heard not at all in the original version – voice, but in various arrangements for chamber, symphony orchestras and even any tools. Which, however, is not surprising, because Rachmaninov’s “Vocalization” is an exceptionally powerful, vibrant work, which allows you to demonstrate the beauty and strength of sound of any artist, even if he acts instrument.

Piano concert number 3

Rating: 5.0

One of the most famous works of the great Russian composer. And until today, this composition is considered perhaps the most frequently performed among all the works of Rachmaninov. Piano Concerto No. 3 is known for its high demands on the technical level of the performer and is objectively one of the most complex works in the standard genre.

The composition falls on one of the peaks in the work of Rachmaninov, when the composer sums up the peculiar result of a complex band of his creative searches. The concert is completely devoid of any flaws present in earlier works of the author, but written in other genres. The composer managed to overcome the previously noticeable loose form, excessive number of repetitions, theatrically elevated pathos of some episodes of others works.

By design, harmony and completeness of the composition, as well as the perfect balance of all elements of the product can be called reference. So, welcoming the appearance of Piano Concerto No. 3 in 1909, one of the critics enthusiastically said that the work “you can call it beautiful without a glance” and joyfully noted that the talent is also fresh and clear.

In the third concert for piano, the lyrics of Rachmaninov became more restrained, but at the same time, deeper, perhaps even severe in color. The work is deprived of the traditional for composer immediacy in the expression of feelings. Lyrical episodes of “Piano Concerto No. 3” require more concentration, which allows you to fully absorb harmony expressed in the work of feeling. Championship in the third concert solo part is undeniable: the orchestra on long sections the song is completely silent, giving the pianist holding all major topics.


Attention! This rating is subjective, not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.

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