Pianist Daniil Trifonov Talks about That Very Difficult Rachmaninoff Concerto

Apr 3, 2017

Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 4 is not very well known in America. But it has a strong connection with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which continues to mine the richness of the work. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.


Listen to a LIVE broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI, April 9th at 2 PM to hear Daniil Trifonov play Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9.

Radio Script:

"...the piece has elements of American jazz and Russian folk music."

[MUSIC: Rachmaninoff’s 4th Piano Concerto]

Susan Lewis: Soloist Daniil Trifonov says, of all Rachmaninoff’s piano concertos, his fourth is probably the most virtuosic for the orchestra.

Daniil Trifonov: Of course, The Philadelphia Orchestra had a lot of experience with this piece and recorded it with Rachmaninoff. They really know every corner of that work. 

SL: The Philadelphia Orchestra premiered the first version of the concerto in 1926, and the third and final version in 1941. By then, the Russian composer had been living in the U.S. and Europe for over two decades, and the piece has elements of both American jazz and Russian folk music. 

DT: We must remember it was dedicated to Nicolai Medtner, another great Russian composer, who was mainly famous for his miniatures for piano called “fairy tales.” In a way, this fairy-tale world of Russian historical folk fairy tales is present in this piece as well, with a lot of changing of characters, of scenes and  very mysterious... there is always some magic.

SL: After the 1941 premiere, Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra recorded the work with the composer at the keyboard.