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Lately, I've been in a "Rachmaninoff mood" so I've been exploring some of his smaller pieces. I was wondering if anyone here has played Rachmaninoff's Moment Musicaux Opus 16, #1? It has a variety of fun technical challenges and the music is a joy to express. I'm finally on top of the technical stuff and I can see I'm going to be able to pull this off so I'm feeling enormously happy. I can't stay away from the piano. Anyone else? blush


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My Rachmaninoff mood led me into studying/rehearsing/preparing for concert his, what I call, 'Viennese trilogy': Polka de W.R. (based on the 'Liebtäubchen' polka by a certain Viennese composer Behr), Liebesleid, Liebesfreud (both based on Kreisler's pieces), it lasts only a bit more than a quarter of an hour, but ye gods, what difficulties, at the end of Liebesfreud dear Sergei becomes nearly atonal, he approaches his fellow-russian (and by him not so well regarded) Sergei Prokofiev more than he would have acknowledged, but what fun to play. I have played all of op.16, nr.1 is a gem, quite meandering and free in form, difficult to hold together, more like variations. I wish you happy times with it and good luck!


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As I totter off into my dotage, I find I'm tending more towards the slower, more reflective repertoire because both age and physical concerns have their controlling say.

I've played number five from this Op. 16 set, and I recently performed the E-flat major Prelude, No. 6 from Op. 23, one of my favourite Rachmaninoff Preludes.

Looks like fun, Deborah.

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Rachmaninov (English spelling - to make it consistent with Prokofiev/Prokofieff, not to mention Sviatoslav/Sviatoslaff wink ) became my favorite composer when I first heard Rach 3 in concert as a teenager, then bought the cassette tape of Andrei Gavrilov playing it with a Soviet orchestra soon after winning the Tchaikovsky Competition (it's now on YT, I think). It's still my favorite recording - that big cadenza blows me away every time I hear it.

Then my last teacher introduced me to several of the Preludes (Op.23/4, 5, 10; Op.32/5 & 12), and I realized I could actually play them properly (as opposed to hacking my way through Op.3/2, which I did a few years previously before I had the chops). I learnt several more pieces - including Op.16/1 - by myself after that - as I discovered that my small hands (much smaller than those of a Russian bear) weren't an impediment after all.

In fact, more of Rach's pieces have stayed in my rep than Chopin's over the years, because I find them generally more fun & interesting to play.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Bruce, I've heard your prelude and it is lovely.

dolce sfogato, I'll have to listen to those pieces.

Originally Posted by bennevis
In fact, more of Rach's pieces have stayed in my rep than Chopin's over the years, because I find them generally more fun & interesting to play.

I'm finding that as well. I adore Chopin but I'm finding beautiful gems in Rachmaninoff. His music is very distinctive and, like Chopin, (but in a different way), his writing brings out the beauty of the piano. I'm going to continue exploring his music, including his transcriptions. Some of it is extremely difficult but, as you say, interesting and beautiful.

BTW, IMSLP has a cleverly edited version of 16/1 by PianoPracticeEditions.com. All of Rachmaninoff's work is there, but the editor made it much easier to read. Some ledger lines have been eliminated by moving notes into the treble clef and the running 16 notes have the melody notated.


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I absolutely adore Rachmaninov. Him and Gershwin were the two reasons why I even started taking piano seriously 16 years ago, and Rachmaninov's music is still a driving force in my motivation today.

My one frustration with Rachmaninov is that I find his orchestral and choral works greater than his shorter piano works. I play a few of the preludes and enjoy them a lot, but for me the concertos are where it's at. The problem with those is that they are a huge investment in time to learn and keep in your fingers without many performance opportunities...even most amateur competitions exclude them from performance, which is really, really frustrating. If you're going to learn them, you've got to resign yourself to the fact that you're most likely learning them to play for yourself without accompaniment. With most other concertos, if you're talented there are realistic performance opportunities - not so with Rachmaninov, especially with the third concerto. The thing is, some of the writing is so gorgeous that it's worth it....

There is something about Rachmaninov that just touches my soul and is so enjoyable to play from a physical standpoint. The thick textures, the rich harmonies, the gorgeous melodic writing....all of it combined makes a sensory experience to me that is rarely equalled from other composers.

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Originally Posted by computerpro3
There is something about Rachmaninov that just touches my soul and is so enjoyable to play from a physical standpoint. The thick textures, the rich harmonies, the gorgeous melodic writing....all of it combined makes a sensory experience to me that is rarely equalled from other composers.

Agreed. My main challenge is hand size. Redistributing the notes between my hand fixes most problems but not all. I think Rachmaninoff’s concertos are way out of my league both technically and in terms of hand span.

Speaking of Gershwin, I’ve always wanted to play his concerto in F but I can’t reach the chords and the music loses too much if I break them.


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Hello everyone, I have been lurking for some time and this is my very first post! My current Rachmaninoff mood includes the Elegy and the Moment Musicaux No. 3. Pensive, lush harmonies and so satisfying to work on. If only my hands were bigger.... grin


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Originally Posted by Adagiette
Hello everyone, I have been lurking for some time and this is my very first post! My current Rachmaninoff mood includes the Elegy and the Moment Musicaux No. 3. Pensive, lush harmonies and so satisfying to work on. If only my hands were bigger.... grin


Hi
welcome to the forum! Elegy has become one of my favorite pieces— not only is it deeply poignant and lush, but it impresses me that Rachmaninoff wrote it as a young student following the death of his teacher. I’m glad to have another fan here!


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by Adagiette
Hello everyone, I have been lurking for some time and this is my very first post! My current Rachmaninoff mood includes the Elegy and the Moment Musicaux No. 3. Pensive, lush harmonies and so satisfying to work on. If only my hands were bigger.... grin
Welcome to the forum Adagiette! Yes, his MM #3 has some tough spots for small hands. I agreed, the Elegie is gorgeous. I remember practicing, (from the third page of the Elegie,) those alternating 2+5 to 1+4 finger combinations. I would tap my fingers over and over on the steering wheel of my car every time I stopped for a red light until I finally mastered it. laugh


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Thanks for the welcome! My apologies for misspelling Elegie, I have newbie nerves about posting. crazy It is nice to hear that others have "composer moods" also. Some days I want nothing but Chopin mazurkas, other days only Bach will do. Recently I spent several weeks obsessed with Rameau. Who will it be today? grin


"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." – Sir Winston Churchill

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