The second Friday concert of the season, with the theme Russia, is entirely devoted to the composer, conductor and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff. A man with unusually large hands, whose music has been in countless movies and served as an inspiration for famous pop ballads.
THE LAST ROMANTIC
Rachmaninoff (1873–1943) is considered the last romantic composer. He was a dazzling pianist and performed both his own and others’ compositions. A curiosity is his unusually large hands that allowed him to reach an impressive range of thirteen whole notes.
His first piano concerto, where he was also a soloist, was a great success. But the premiere of his first symphony was an absolute disaster. Rachmaninoff became deeply depressed, but fortunately he never gave up and returned in full force. With his second piano concerto as well as his second symphony, he was back , and these are works that will be performed at this concert.
MOVIES AND POP SONGS
People who are not very familiar with classical music have probably heard Rachmaninoff’s music without knowing it. It appears in soundtracks for a variety of films, ranging from The Girl on Top and Doctor Zhivago to Bridget Jones’ Diary, Dawn of the Dead and Spider Man 3.
Eric Carmen borrowed the theme for his great pop hit All by Myself in 1975 from the second piano concerto. The same Carmen stole bits from Symphony No. 2 for his major hit Never Gonna Fall in Love Again, which was released the following year and has subsequently been recorded by a variety of artists.