Rachmaninoff composed his Prelude, Op. 32, No. 9 in A on August 26, 1910. It is in ternary form. To say that this is a thick-textured piece would be an understatement. The melody often exists in a snippet motif, so much be recognized and emphasized. But there are actually three levels of writing: the right hand melody, the left hand octaves (which sometimes are melodic and enter the foreground), and filler notes to make the structure more robust, which must be deemphasized except for occasional melodic purposes. Rachmaninoff, probably believing that pianists can never get enough double notes, very generously provided them throughout this piece raising constant voicing challenges. Dynamics not noted by the composer most often follow the lines of the musical contours. I believe that the program for this piece is a large ship laboring through heavy waves. The middle section suggests a romance between the ship and the sea. Nearing the end of the voyage, the ship safely makes port with the town church bells pealing. This piece can be studied for a lifetime. I’ve already studied it twice. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing it.
Piano: Baldwin Model L Artist Grand (6’3”) with lid fully open.
Recorder: Korg MR-1000
Mics: Matched pair of Earthworks TC-20 small diaphragm, omni-directional condenser mics in A-B configuration