A N Other

Rachmaninoff Biography

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I may have asked this before...sorry if so...I am listening to the Symphony No. 2 (Rattle, Los Angeles) and wondering why I have yet to read a biography...can anyone recommend a good one for me? THX.

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I may have asked this before...sorry if so...I am listening to the Symphony No. 2 (Rattle, Los Angeles) and wondering why I have yet to read a biography...can anyone recommend a good one for me? THX.

Comprehensive, authoritative biography written with the cooperation of the composer's family: Sergei Rachmaninoff, by Sergei Bertensson and Jay Leyda (New York University Press, 1956). Contains family photos, extensive passages from his letters, and a complete list of his compositions.

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I may have asked this before...sorry if so...I am listening to the Symphony No. 2 (Rattle, Los Angeles) and wondering why I have yet to read a biography...can anyone recommend a good one for me? THX.

Comprehensive, authoritative biography written with the cooperation of the composer's family: Sergei Rachmaninoff, by Sergei Bertensson and Jay Leyda (New York University Press, 1956). Contains family photos, extensive passages from his letters, and a complete list of his compositions.

I second this . . . the Bertensson and Leyda book is the definitive biography, not least of which because Bertensson had direct access to the Rachmaninoffs and their circle. Highly recommended.

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Thanks for the input. Will add it to my extremely long after-graduation summer reading list. :D

Piano Concerto No.2 is probably my favourite piece of music ever written, but nobody ever seems to play it. :) (Though "nobody" = Seattle or NYC philharmonic, so I guess it's not terribly surprising.)

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Bill, thanks for the recommendation. I found a really nice first edition on Alibris for $80.

RealityCheck 44, the late,great Liberty Music in Ann Arbor recommended the Herbert VonKarajan, Alexis Weissenberg recording of the Second to me long ago, which is really worn out. I shopped Encore Music, the used record/CD shop that replaced it for years for a CD. The owner asked me one day why I appeared frustrated and I told him I haunted the Rachmaninoff, Von Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic sections and never saw that recording. He asked me if I checked the Alexis Weisenberg section. The guy has an Alexis Weisenberg section! I now also own a Third Concerto recording by them.

My wife and I saw/heard Ormandy, The Philidelphia and Van Cliburn do the Second in Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor in about 1975. I saw a woman I thought was Ayn Rand there, whsmiled at me when she saw me looking. Who knows?

We also saw/heard Ormandy, the Philadelphia and Horowitz do the Third there. I personally find the Horowitz/ New York Philharmonic recording lacking, perhaps for having heard the Philadelphia. The University Music Society used to do big things there.

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Thanks, A N Other! That was a very nice write up.

I've heard the Third performed twice in my life, by the Seattle and the New York. I can't remember the soloists were, though.

My favorite recording that I've heard so far is by Rachmaninoff himself on the recording titled Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff. The recording is rather fuzzy though. I have trouble listening to it in the car, but it sounds great in the library. I had never heard of Weissenberg, so thanks for that recommendation! iTunes doesn't have any of his Rachmaninoff recordings, but I'll have to keep my eyes open. I'm not sure which Horowitz recording I have (assume it's the NY Phil), but I prefer the Rachmaninoff for whatever reason, though the Horowitz is clear acoustically. Maybe it's just because the Rachmaninoff was the first recording I heard, but it sounds more dramatic/heroic to me.

I've been rather disappointed with the selection of music by the NY Phil in recent years. But maybe it's just bad timing. (Vespasiano is probably better informed than I.)

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There are other Horowitz Rachmaninoff Thirds, one with Fritz Reiner and a Chicago orchestra (not the Chicago Symphony) and a really early London Philharmonic recording (Cyril Coates?). I have a collection of Thirds; non match the version I hear in my head while out jogging and it'a a good thing I don't play...I'd be as crazy as the guy in that movie.

Curiously, there must be at least one Horowitz recording of the Second, as close as Horowitz was to Rachmaninoff, but I've never seen one.

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Piano Concerto No.2 is probably my favourite piece of music ever written, but nobody ever seems to play it. :) (Though "nobody" = Seattle or NYC philharmonic, so I guess it's not terribly surprising.)

Quoting myself and bumping this thread because the Seattle symphony is hosting a Rachmaninoff "Festival" the first week of January!!! They're playing Piano Concertos 1 and 2 on Thursday (Jan 3) and Piano Concertos 3 and 4 on Saturday (Jan 5). I've been waiting...hoping for someone to play Concerto No 2 since I first heard it. I've seen the Third played four times now (2x in Seattle and 2x in NYC -- this past time (in Seattle) was the best), but they NEVER play the 2nd. I usually make a 'series' (3 performances), so I paired them with Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. I'm ecstatic!

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Sorry to hear that Liberty Music is defunct. Though I haven't been to Ann Arbor in over a decade; books, CDs and music scores that used to be hard to obtain and that required a trip out of town are now available online.

NOT TO BE MISSED:

1st Symphony: - Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra

2nd Symphony - Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra; Previn, London Symphony; Boult, London Philharmonic

3rd Symphony - Previn, London Symphony

1st and 3rd Concertos - Byron Janis

2nd Concerto - Rubinstein

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I traveled to Ann Arbor the other day and bought two CD's of Rachmaninov playing all four concertos with the Philidelphia Orchestra and either Stowkowski or Ormandy conducting. I haven't been able to determine who conducts which performance yet. There ios tape hiss but otherwise they are clear.

Encore occupies the space formerly occupied by Liberty Music. The co-owner I spoke with siad he has the biggest collection of classical music in the State; they are concentrating on vinyl and he caims to have the largest collection of classical on vinyl in the midwest.

I asked him if they took requests and shipped either; he said they didn't advertise the service but will do it for people out of town who call. They are at 417 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104-2207. They can be reached at 734-662-6776.

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I traveled to Ann Arbor the other day and bought two CD's of Rachmaninov playing all four concertos with the Philidelphia Orchestra and either Stowkowski or Ormandy conducting. I haven't been able to determine who conducts which performance yet. There ios tape hiss but otherwise they are clear.

Encore occupies the space formerly occupied by Liberty Music. The co-owner I spoke with siad he has the biggest collection of classical music in the State; they are concentrating on vinyl and he caims to have the largest collection of classical on vinyl in the midwest. ...

That's good to hear! I hope they get lots of business! (Unfortunately, I am already up to my ears in music, CDs and scores ... more than I will ever be able to study ... so can't give such people the support they deserve.)

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I traveled to Ann Arbor the other day and bought two CD's of Rachmaninov playing all four concertos with the Philidelphia Orchestra and either Stowkowski or Ormandy conducting. I haven't been able to determine who conducts which performance yet. There ios tape hiss but otherwise they are clear.

Encore occupies the space formerly occupied by Liberty Music. The co-owner I spoke with siad he has the biggest collection of classical music in the State; they are concentrating on vinyl and he caims to have the largest collection of classical on vinyl in the midwest.

I asked him if they took requests and shipped either; he said they didn't advertise the service but will do it for people out of town who call. They are at 417 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104-2207. They can be reached at 734-662-6776.

I was at that shop around 1996. As I recall it's a rather jumbled place like a personal room. Wonderful finds there.

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