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Was Rachmaninov really a "triple threat"?
#2890719 09/15/19 05:31 PM
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Few would argue that he was a fantastic pianist and great composer but what about his conducting activities? Was he a really great conductor? Not sure if I remember correctly but I think he was offered but declined a major conducting position. Did he basically conduct mostly his own works?

Re: Was Rachmaninov really a "triple threat"?
pianoloverus #2890734 09/15/19 06:30 PM
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He was the conductor at the Bolshoi Theater from 1901 until the Russian revolution in 1917, when he relocated to Germany. This would mean that he conducted for the Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera (both top tier organizations) for an extended period, and would largely have been conducting works by other composers.

After 1917, he struggled to find another suitable conducting position and found that being a concert pianist was more rewarding financially.


My chronological list of the top 20 composers: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Debussy, Bartok, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich.
Re: Was Rachmaninov really a "triple threat"?
pianoloverus #2890884 09/16/19 07:58 AM
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Judging by his recordings, Rachmaninoff was a very fine conductor indeed. It would have been something to have heard him conducting works by other composers. As it is, he was offered a two year contract with the Cincinnati Orchestra in 1918 and was offered Boston in 1924.

But if he had accepted either position, it means we would likely have heard much less of him as a pianist, where he was nothing short of extraordinary..


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Re: Was Rachmaninov really a "triple threat"?
Sweelinck #2890913 09/16/19 09:47 AM
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AFAIK there are no recordings left, so we can't judge by ourselves now. He was very highly praised
as a conductor at his time, but it seems that he didn't like conducting as much as playing piano and composing. Once he said that conducting gets his piano technique out of balance and he ceased conducting to a minimum.

Originally Posted by Sweelinck
He was the conductor at the Bolshoi Theater from 1901 until the Russian revolution in 1917, when he relocated to Germany. This would mean that he conducted for the Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera (both top tier organizations) for an extended period, and would largely have been conducting works by other composers.

After 1917, he struggled to find another suitable conducting position and found that being a concert pianist was more rewarding financially.

A little correction: he was conducting at Bolshoi Theater only for two seasons in 1904-1906. But it's true that he conducted many works of other composers in his lifetime.

Re: Was Rachmaninov really a "triple threat"?
Iaroslav Vasiliev #2890921 09/16/19 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
AFAIK there are no recordings left, so we can't judge by ourselves now.
There are some recordings on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rachmaninoff+conducts

Re: Was Rachmaninov really a "triple threat"?
pianoloverus #2890978 09/16/19 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
AFAIK there are no recordings left, so we can't judge by ourselves now.
There are some recordings on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rachmaninoff+conducts

Oh, great! Thank you! I need to listen to it.

Re: Was Rachmaninov really a "triple threat"?
pianoloverus #2891514 09/17/19 11:21 PM
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It's said that Rachmaninoff admired the "Philadelphia sound," which was cultivated by Stokowski and maintained by Ormandy (though I'm not sure what his relationship was like with either of those conductors). I recall something about his conducting of Mozart No. 40 being exquisite.


WhoDwaldi
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