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Rachmaninoff - Prelude C Sharp Minor Story? #1296858
10/30/09 06:36 PM
10/30/09 06:36 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 347
Norway :D
Oblacone Offline OP
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Oblacone  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 347
Norway :D
Hey forum!
So, i have been doing some research on a piece that i liked, now i heard from a lot of internet people, that it is about a guy being buried alive. But then that could be people's interpretation after Tchaikovsky's funeral, where Rachmaninoff played his newly presented piece.

Since Tchaikovsky did have influence on Rachmaninoff, and his piece is a very dramatic one. HOWEVER I don't think his piece has anything to do about some guy being buried alive, it is way too brutal.

So I stumbled upon this - http://students.umf.maine.edu/~sinaysm/prelude%20in%20C.pdf

Very interesting, but is it true? Can anyone confirm or have a different story?
At the age of 19, a piece with such emotion must have some story behind it... or at least some inspiration of a kind.

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Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude C Sharp Minor Story? [Re: Oblacone] #1296862
10/30/09 06:59 PM
10/30/09 06:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 359
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FunkyLlama Offline
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Originally Posted by Oblacone
Hey forum!
So I stumbled upon this - http://students.umf.maine.edu/~sinaysm/prelude%20in%20C.pdf
'To me, this melody signifies the famine and the devastation that it caused the peasants in Russia'
Yeah, he/she pretty much resorts to making stuff up. smirk

Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude C Sharp Minor Story? [Re: Oblacone] #1296869
10/30/09 07:20 PM
10/30/09 07:20 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Iowa City, IA
Kreisler Offline
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Saying that the C# minor prelude depicts the famine of 1892 is like saying that everything composed in the United States in 2009 represents the financial crisis.

Did the social and economic atmosphere of Fin de si├Ęcle Russia impact the arts? Of course! But the assertions made in that paper are fanciful at best.

If you're interested in Rachmaninoff's inspiration, I'd look into the church music of the time. My guess is the church exerted a greater influence on Rachmaninoff's music than social and political forces. (That's just a guess, though, I could be totally wrong. I do know for a fact that the church was important to Rachmaninoff, so that's why I suggest following that lead...)


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude C Sharp Minor Story? [Re: Kreisler] #1296918
10/30/09 09:39 PM
10/30/09 09:39 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 268
Singapore
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timbo77 Offline
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Singapore
The prelude may not be "about" anything. Not every piece of music has a programme. Rachmaninoff himself never indicated that the piece had a subtext. It may have done, it may not, but we'll probably never know -- we certainly can't assume that major events of the time inspired the piece.

As Kreisler says, Rachmaninoff was heavily influenced by church music from his childhood days and, particular, church bells. To me, this is reflected at the end of the prelude where the final chords sound like chiming church bells. But I'm not saying those chords "represent" bells at all. You hear this sort of passge elsewhere in Rachmaninoff's music (take the beginning of the second piano concerto for example, or the prelude Op 23, No. 10, there are many many more), and I think it reveals that church bells were a formative influence on his musical style.

Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude C Sharp Minor Story? [Re: timbo77] #1297023
10/31/09 02:09 AM
10/31/09 02:09 AM
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Oakland
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BDB Offline
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This piece was heavily influenced by Henselt's Piano Concerto.


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Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude C Sharp Minor Story? [Re: BDB] #1297075
10/31/09 07:35 AM
10/31/09 07:35 AM
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Posts: 625
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xtraheat Offline
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I didn't read the link you posted, but Rachmaninoff constantly claimed that it was about nothing and he hated the piece because he had to perform it so often


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Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude C Sharp Minor Story? [Re: xtraheat] #1297122
10/31/09 09:05 AM
10/31/09 09:05 AM
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dmc092657 Offline
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dmc092657  Offline
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Quote
Rachmaninoff constantly claimed that it was about nothing and he hated the piece because he had to perform it so often


There's probably some truth to that. But I suspect the real reason Rachmaninoff hated the piece was because he neglected to secure an international copyright when the piece was published. So he lost a pile of money on it. Economics goes a long way towards determining one's behavior.

Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude C Sharp Minor Story? [Re: dmc092657] #1297153
10/31/09 10:17 AM
10/31/09 10:17 AM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 268
Singapore
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timbo77 Offline
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Singapore
Originally Posted by dmc092657
Quote
Rachmaninoff constantly claimed that it was about nothing and he hated the piece because he had to perform it so often


There's probably some truth to that. But I suspect the real reason Rachmaninoff hated the piece was because he neglected to secure an international copyright when the piece was published. So he lost a pile of money on it. Economics goes a long way towards determining one's behavior.


I don't agree. People demanded Rachmaninoff to play the prelude after every concert he performed, or wherever he went. He wanted to be known for more than one piece. That's why he played it (in his words) "like a machine".

Whilst he expressed his regret at not securing international copyright, he also acknowledged that his name as a composer had spread to many parts of the world because of the piece and as a result it helped his reputation. In fact, I think it was one of the factors that led to his first performance in England.

Also, Rachmaninoff was an incredibly successful pianist and was richly compensated for it: I don't think he needed to harbour ill feelings towards a piece that contributed to that success.



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