WRTI Spotlight
1:31 pm
Fri March 21, 2008

Celebrate Rachmaninoff's Birthday with WRTI on Tuesday, April 1

"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music."

-- Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Join us on Tuesday, April 1 as we honor the legendary Russian composer, pianist, and conductor Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff. WRTI will feature selected works from his repertoire between 6 am to 6 pm on his 135th birthday.

Rachmaninoff is one of the most performed composers of the early 20th century. His music is characterized by soaring melodies, rich orchestration, romantic chromatic harmonies, and a distinct Russian flavor. Known for its lavish and exuberant sound, Rachmaninoff's music also contains hints of darker colors; in its most open and passionate moments, underlying elements of private emotion can often be heard.

Acclaimed as a pianist and as a conductor, Rachmaninoff stood 6 ' 6" and had enormous hands that could cover the interval of a thirteenth on the keyboard. He thought of himself, however, first and foremost as a composer and was a giant in the world of piano composition. His works included four piano concertos, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and several series of solo piano pieces. He also wrote imaginatively in a variety of genres and composed operas, symphonies, choral works, songs, and chamber music.

Rachmaninoff left his beloved Russia after the Revolution in 1917 and emigrated to the U.S. where he spent the rest of his life. He always yearned, however, for his motherland and that melancholy is apparent in his music.

"A composer's music should express the country of his birth, his love affairs, his religion, the books that have influenced him, the pictures he loves... My music is the product of my temperament, and so it is Russian music."
-- Sergei Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff Programming Highlights for Tuesday, April 1

  • Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
  • Piano Concerto No. 3 in d minor, Op. 30
  • The Bells, choral symphony for soprano, tenor, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 35 (based on the poem by Edgar Allen Poe)
  • Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra, Op. 43.
  • Symphony No. 2 in e minor