Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed?

Posted by: PianoSlave

Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 01:12 AM

I'm learning Rach's prelude in C# minor and I just don't see the point in crossing the hands in the way he wrote it. I've been working on it for a couple of days now and want to get some good input before I get some long term muscle memory down. Would it be ok to rearrange the notes (switching bottom note of right hand with top note of left hand) or is there a deeper purpose in his arranging besides him just being Rachmaninoff? LOL
Posted by: carey

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 01:28 AM

You can do whatever you want, but you will gain very little by switching.

As for a "deeper purpose," this Prelude is all about RH and LH octaves. Learn it as written - crossed hands and all.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 01:33 AM

It probably fit his hand better, or he wrote it that way for voicing. Do what you need to do to make it comfortable.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 01:38 AM

I asked myself the same question, but then I decided to cross hands because it was not difficult, just a bit uncomfortable (maybe) in the first phase of learning.
Posted by: PianistOne111

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 01:42 AM

Unless you have really small hands, it will end up being easier if you play octaves.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 03:05 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoSlave
I'm learning Rach's prelude in C# minor and I just don't see the point in crossing the hands in the way he wrote it. I've been working on it for a couple of days now and want to get some good input before I get some long term muscle memory down. Would it be ok to rearrange the notes (switching bottom note of right hand with top note of left hand) or is there a deeper purpose in his arranging besides him just being Rachmaninoff? LOL

So in a nut shell you think you have better ideas than Rakhmaninov himself on his own compositions?

Alrighty then!
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 04:01 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
So in a nut shell you think you have better ideas than Rakhmaninov himself on his own compositions?

Alrighty then!
Even if it is so... so what?

I do think that anybody has a right to experiment a bit. Especially if at first he's asking for advice in a pianoworld thread! wink
Posted by: ando

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 07:12 AM

Experimenting is fine, but I think the way it's written is the far superior way. The most important notes in both hands are the octaves. By redistributing notes, you create more difficulties in trying to emphasise these octave notes. Besides, I think crossing the hands is quite fun, not that difficult, and certainly not harder than redistributing the notes.
Posted by: TwoSnowflakes

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 07:41 AM

I'm learning this piece now and the chord voicing makes more sense with the hands crossed. Plus, later, when the hands separate for the last section, the fingering scheme is more related.

Once you have the crossing worked out it actually is quite easy and natural. It was only strange for the first couple of days. After that it didn't bother me at all.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 09:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
So in a nut shell you think you have better ideas than Rakhmaninov himself on his own compositions?

Alrighty then!
Even if it is so... so what?

I do think that anybody has a right to experiment a bit. Especially if at first he's asking for advice in a pianoworld thread! wink

First of all, those chords really have no other way to play them. It is awkward no matter what, but what Rakhmaninov did is the least awkward.

It's completely fine to experiment, but don't make it sounds like "he did it because he's just because."

As a composer yourself, I believe you won't appreciate any performer tells you that you wrote that bit "just because," right?
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 11:41 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoSlave
I'm learning Rach's prelude in C# minor and I just don't see the point in crossing the hands in the way he wrote it. I've been working on it for a couple of days now and want to get some good input before I get some long term muscle memory down. Would it be ok to rearrange the notes (switching bottom note of right hand with top note of left hand) or is there a deeper purpose in his arranging besides him just being Rachmaninoff? LOL

You probably haven't got to the final section yet, where the themes are restated in big ff chords with the hands spread far apart.

When you start learning that, you'll understand the logic of the composer's earlier hand-crossing: the hand movements are the same, only with more notes in each hand.

Why learn two different muscle movements for what is essentially the same music? It just increases your risk of memory lapses if you eventually play it from memory. Learning the logic of the composer's written notation now will pay dividends in the long term.
Posted by: sandalholme

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 12:12 PM

I read this thread in bemusement. Are we talking about Op3 No2? Have played it (badly, in case you ask) for years. Where are the crossed hands? Looked at alternative score on the Net. Where does the RH reach over the LH, or the LH over the RH? Have I always had a simplified (!) score? Was thinking over hand over, rather than fingers crossed - needed when playing this!

So I realised "crossed hands" meant "interspersed" hands, which is quite commonly needed.

I am not being pedantic, but it shows how words can be misinterpreted.

In answer to the OP, as everyone else: use the original scoring. I looked at the music, mentally trying to visualise unscrambling the hands. Surely it's easier the way it was written. And unscrambling here won't help you play music where it just is not possible to play without intertwining the fingers, to use yet another term.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 01:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
First of all, those chords really have no other way to play them. It is awkward no matter what, but what Rakhmaninov did is the least awkward.
I have quite large hands (C-F# and middle notes) in which case this particular preludes comes rather easy to me...

I don't think it's awkward at all!

Quote:
It's completely fine to experiment, but don't make it sounds like "he did it because he's just because."
Personally I'm not. Or at least I didn't. Point is that the guy made a thread about it, asking why the cross-hands section is written like that and if he can alter it. The apparent reply from most is that no it's not ok, because:
a. This is how Rach wrote it
b. It's easier this way.
c. Voicing sounds better/correct this way.

I agree with all three sentiments, but I didn't get a vibe of "I'll do whatever I want just because" from the OP.

Quote:
As a composer yourself, I believe you won't appreciate any performer tells you that you wrote that bit "just because," right?
No, but I certainly get pointers (especially on other instruments) on how something could be written or notated better. In fact I do know that even Stravinsky would be altering his parts, after recommendations from performers.

This is one large reason why my scores lack pedal instructions and fingerings almost always (except in Sketch Music, where I didn't add them myself, btw): It's too personal and I find that I would be dictating things to the performer which may not work for them, as they do for me... My pedalling, my piano, my hands. Not theirs!

_______________________

But just to be clear: I think that this particular prelude works like this very fine, since it gets out the melody with the right hand and works fine for people with large hands! smile There's no reason to change it.
Posted by: carey

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 02:05 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
You probably haven't got to the final section yet, where the themes are restated in big ff chords with the hands spread far apart.

When you start learning that, you'll understand the logic of the composer's earlier hand-crossing: the hand movements are the same, only with more notes in each hand.

Why learn two different muscle movements for what is essentially the same music? It just increases your risk of memory lapses if you eventually play it from memory. Learning the logic of the composer's written notation now will pay dividends in the long term.


Excellent response !!! thumb
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 02:23 PM

As a few have already said, it was written this way for either voicing or ease of execution. I think it only makes sense to consider rearranging the chords if one has small hands or finds the original version too difficult. There are some editions(Alfred masterwork?) which show, in addition to the original, an alternate version with uncrossed hands and usually with the note "for small hands".
Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 02:36 PM

It seems like a bit of a shallow question on the surface, but there's a lesson to be learned from it. Most great composers for the piano were also great pianists, and based on his recordings, I feel Rachmaninoff was a greater pianist than a composer. So it's more safe to follow the score and assume that he knew better than you do, rather than second-guess him. In the case of the hand distribution, it's a subtle effect which emphasizes the emptier sonority of the open fifth in the right hand, rather than the thickness of the full chord. Subtle though it may be, though, it's key to the way Rachmaninoff conceived the opening.

It seems extremely common to disregard most of the directions that Rachmaninoff wrote in his scores. The editions of the C-sharp minor Prelude with "sffff" directions seem to sum up the attitude that people have towards a piece which Rachmaninoff himself recorded several times, but never slammed through. He wasn't after bombast - he was after the sound of bells ringing.
Posted by: SBP

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 09:01 PM

I do the hand-crossing thing only because it looks impressive when people see me do it. Tbt it actually fits quite nicely under the hands once you get used to it. The ending is still pretty tough, simply because of all the big block chords that you have to time 100% perfectly (while playing FFF) :P
Posted by: carey

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/29/13 09:47 PM

Originally Posted By: SBP
I do the hand-crossing thing only because it looks impressive when people see me do it.


Seriously???? grin
Posted by: bkw58

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 12:30 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
...You probably haven't got to the final section yet, where the themes are restated in big ff chords with the hands spread far apart.

When you start learning that, you'll understand the logic of the composer's earlier hand-crossing: the hand movements are the same, only with more notes in each hand....


Appreciate the responses.

Was given the original to learn when too young and hands very small. The "crossing" was no problem. The ff chords were. Think my hands grew a tad that year.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 01:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
No, but I certainly get pointers (especially on other instruments) on how something could be written or notated better. In fact I do know that even Stravinsky would be altering his parts, after recommendations from performers.

This is one large reason why my scores lack pedal instructions and fingerings almost always (except in Sketch Music, where I didn't add them myself, btw): It's too personal and I find that I would be dictating things to the performer which may not work for them, as they do for me... My pedalling, my piano, my hands. Not theirs!

Come on, Nikolas.

You clearly know that is comparing apple to oranges. And you are talking about completely different things. You can't be serious in comparing the way you compose vs. Rakhmaninov's.

Originally Posted By: Nikolas

But just to be clear: I think that this particular prelude works like this very fine, since it gets out the melody with the right hand and works fine for people with large hands! smile There's no reason to change it.


Glad you agree with me.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 01:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
No, but I certainly get pointers (especially on other instruments) on how something could be written or notated better. In fact I do know that even Stravinsky would be altering his parts, after recommendations from performers.

This is one large reason why my scores lack pedal instructions and fingerings almost always (except in Sketch Music, where I didn't add them myself, btw): It's too personal and I find that I would be dictating things to the performer which may not work for them, as they do for me... My pedalling, my piano, my hands. Not theirs!

Come on, Nikolas.

You clearly know that is comparing apple to oranges. And you are talking about completely different things. You can't be serious in comparing the way you compose vs. Rakhmaninov's.

to be honest no I don't think I'm comparing apples to oranges.

Obviously I'm not trying to compare myself to any other composer.

But what I'm saying is that, over the course of studying piano for almost 30 years now (or playing the piano, not only studying), at some points I did consider changing the hand distribution, for example, in a few passages.

And this idea was reinforced by the idea that the final score that we see is the result of many people, not just the composer. In this case it's pretty obvious that the hand distribution and the way it's written is Rachmaninoffs, but in other scores it can be a little peculiar to know who put in what and what's going on exactly. (especially in more contemporary scores).

So, again, I think that the passage should be played as it's written, but in other instances it's not bad to be considering alternatives.
Posted by: btb

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 09:19 AM

C minor Prelude by Rachmaninoff

Piano Slave is right on the money in suggesting
omission of the HAND OVERLAPPING,


The “big guy Rach ” was renowned for his giant stretch.

But for mere mortals like us, that loopy overlap
(presumably to effect a singular grand chord) ...
can so easily be played by separate hands,
playing IDENTICAL CHORDS .

Why try to stretch smaller hands to breaking point,
when matching 3-note chords shouts recognition.

The Asian chappie Lai from Singapore,
has obviously been brainwashed into thinking that the
Rach original score needs to be defended ...
forgive me for saying that this is quite a wrong deduction, for the reason fore-mentioned.

Kind regards, btb

PS With big hands, I have always played the two hands separately ... my dog doesn’t howl so I must be doing something right.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 09:26 AM

Originally Posted By: btb
C minor Prelude by Rachmaninoff

Piano Slave is right on the money in suggesting
omission of the HAND OVERLAPPING,


The “big guy Rach ” was renowned for his giant stretch.

But for mere mortals like us, that loopy overlap
(presumably to effect a singular grand chord) ...
can so easily be played by separate hands,
playing IDENTICAL CHORDS .

Why try to stretch smaller hands to breaking point,
when matching 3-note chords shouts recognition.

The Asian chappie Lai from Singapore,
has obviously been brainwashed into thinking that the
Rach original score needs to be defended ...
forgive me for saying that this is quite a wrong deduction, for the reason fore-mentioned.

Kind regards, btb

PS With big hands, I have always played the two hands separately ... my dog doesn’t howl so I must be doing something right.

You are such a character! laugh
Posted by: Louis Podesta

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 01:58 PM

1) Earl Wild wrote that it was most common for pianists in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-arrange chords to fit a particular hand. In other words, everybody, especially Josef Hoffman, did it.

2) Not only do I re-arrange it here, I also do it in the "C" section of the Brahms Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2. The reason being is that in the Rachmaninoff some of the chords are rolled (all of them in the Brahms) and the emphasis is on the voicing at the top.

3) Listen for yourself. And, as far as the end is concerned, he is playing so loud you couldn't possible tell the difference if the beginning section was re-arranged.

4) Oh, in regards the Agitato section, there is a nun here in San Antonio, by the name of Sister Lucy Marie, who studied under Lili Kraus up in Fort Worth. Well, one day Rachmaninoff came to town, and she told me personally that yes he did play it that fast.

Jeez, just listen to all of those rolled chords.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXGSfJn3nKQ
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 03:49 PM

The day when Louis Podesta makes a post in which arpeggiation of chords is not mentioned will be the same day that pigs fly and the cow jumps over the moon.
Posted by: Louis Podesta

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 03:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The day when Louis Podesta makes a post in which arpeggiation of chords is not mentioned will be the same day that pigs fly and the cow jumps over the moon.


Oh, and I almost forgot about his use of asynchronization, especially when he plays the octave chords, which along with the arpeggiation is also not "in the 'sacred' Urtext score."
Posted by: carey

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 04:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
3) Listen for yourself. And, as far as the end is concerned, he is playing so loud you couldn't possible tell the difference if the beginning section was re-arranged.

4) Oh, in regards the Agitato section, there is a nun here in San Antonio, by the name of Sister Lucy Marie, who studied under Lili Kraus up in Fort Worth. Well, one day Rachmaninoff came to town, and she told me personally that yes he did play it that fast.

Jeez, just listen to all of those rolled chords.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXGSfJn3nKQ


A unique interpretation indeed. grin

Thanks for posting it !!
Posted by: antony

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 04:15 PM

Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
It seems like a bit of a shallow question on the surface, but there's a lesson to be learned from it. Most great composers for the piano were also great pianists, and based on his recordings, I feel Rachmaninoff was a greater pianist than a composer. So it's more safe to follow the score and assume that he knew better than you do, rather than second-guess him. In the case of the hand distribution, it's a subtle effect which emphasizes the emptier sonority of the open fifth in the right hand, rather than the thickness of the full chord. Subtle though it may be, though, it's key to the way Rachmaninoff conceived the opening.

It seems extremely common to disregard most of the directions that Rachmaninoff wrote in his scores. The editions of the C-sharp minor Prelude with "sffff" directions seem to sum up the attitude that people have towards a piece which Rachmaninoff himself recorded several times, but never slammed through. He wasn't after bombast - he was after the sound of bells ringing.

I've heard it debated before about what Rachmaninov was best at, piano, composition or conducting. I find it hard to believe that this would ever be up for consideration. Being a composer at the level of a Rachmaninov is an achievement far beyond that of any conductor or pianist
Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 04:19 PM

Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
It seems like a bit of a shallow question on the surface, but there's a lesson to be learned from it. Most great composers for the piano were also great pianists, and based on his recordings, I feel Rachmaninoff was a greater pianist than a composer. So it's more safe to follow the score and assume that he knew better than you do, rather than second-guess him. In the case of the hand distribution, it's a subtle effect which emphasizes the emptier sonority of the open fifth in the right hand, rather than the thickness of the full chord. Subtle though it may be, though, it's key to the way Rachmaninoff conceived the opening.

It seems extremely common to disregard most of the directions that Rachmaninoff wrote in his scores. The editions of the C-sharp minor Prelude with "sffff" directions seem to sum up the attitude that people have towards a piece which Rachmaninoff himself recorded several times, but never slammed through. He wasn't after bombast - he was after the sound of bells ringing.

I've heard it debated before about what Rachmaninov was best at, piano, composition or conducting. I find it hard to believe that this would ever be up for consideration. Being a composer at the level of a Rachmaninov isabel achievement far beyond that of any conductor or pianist


He certainly left some unqualified masterpieces, like Vespers and the Symphonic Dances. But his performances of Schumann's Carnaval, Chopin's 2nd Sonata, the Grieg violin sonata with Kreisler, and his own smaller works are so arresting. It's hard to believe what you're hearing sometimes.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 04:45 PM

Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
He certainly left some unqualified masterpieces, like Vespers and the Symphonic Dances.

...and the second and third symphonies, and the second and third concertos, and the Opus 28 sonata, and the cello sonata, and etc, etc, etc. Opus 27 in particular outdoes the symphonies of even Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and Elgar.
Posted by: ando

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 04:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The day when Louis Podesta makes a post in which arpeggiation of chords is not mentioned will be the same day that pigs fly and the cow jumps over the moon.


This might well be true, but in the case of this thread, it's particularly relevant. If you do happen to slightly "roll" the hands from low to high, redistributing the notes between the hands has a drastic effect on the sound.

I like to do this a bit myself on this prelude. I tried redistributing the notes in the way suggested and it sounded quite different - certainly enough to suggest to me that the overlapping hands technique indicated by Rachmaninoff is the superior way to play it. It emphasises the sixths between the hands. If you redistribute as suggested and then "roll" the chords, you get rather dull octaves between the hands. Rachmaninoff knew what he was doing.
Posted by: Louis Podesta

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/30/13 04:59 PM

I particularly don't think an average audience member can hear the difference in live performance. You tell me, after viewing this live performance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj5cNBCNcPQ
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:12 AM

Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
It seems like a bit of a shallow question on the surface, but there's a lesson to be learned from it. Most great composers for the piano were also great pianists, and based on his recordings, I feel Rachmaninoff was a greater pianist than a composer. So it's more safe to follow the score and assume that he knew better than you do, rather than second-guess him. In the case of the hand distribution, it's a subtle effect which emphasizes the emptier sonority of the open fifth in the right hand, rather than the thickness of the full chord. Subtle though it may be, though, it's key to the way Rachmaninoff conceived the opening.

It seems extremely common to disregard most of the directions that Rachmaninoff wrote in his scores. The editions of the C-sharp minor Prelude with "sffff" directions seem to sum up the attitude that people have towards a piece which Rachmaninoff himself recorded several times, but never slammed through. He wasn't after bombast - he was after the sound of bells ringing.

I've heard it debated before about what Rachmaninov was best at, piano, composition or conducting. I find it hard to believe that this would ever be up for consideration. Being a composer at the level of a Rachmaninov is an achievement far beyond that of any conductor or pianist

Yes it is debatable. I used to think Rakhmaninov is a great composer. However, the more I listen to other composers of his contemporaries, such as, Scriabin and Medtner, the more I believe Rakhmaninov is a greater pianist and conductor than a composer.

I know some of you guys will reply in rage, but let me finish: this is in no way disrespecting Rakhmaninov nor his compositions in any way.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
It seems like a bit of a shallow question on the surface, but there's a lesson to be learned from it. Most great composers for the piano were also great pianists, and based on his recordings, I feel Rachmaninoff was a greater pianist than a composer. So it's more safe to follow the score and assume that he knew better than you do, rather than second-guess him. In the case of the hand distribution, it's a subtle effect which emphasizes the emptier sonority of the open fifth in the right hand, rather than the thickness of the full chord. Subtle though it may be, though, it's key to the way Rachmaninoff conceived the opening.

It seems extremely common to disregard most of the directions that Rachmaninoff wrote in his scores. The editions of the C-sharp minor Prelude with "sffff" directions seem to sum up the attitude that people have towards a piece which Rachmaninoff himself recorded several times, but never slammed through. He wasn't after bombast - he was after the sound of bells ringing.

I've heard it debated before about what Rachmaninov was best at, piano, composition or conducting. I find it hard to believe that this would ever be up for consideration. Being a composer at the level of a Rachmaninov is an achievement far beyond that of any conductor or pianist

Yes it is debatable. I used to think Rakhmaninov is a great composer. However, the more I listen to other composers of his contemporaries, such as, Scriabin and Medtner, the more I believe Rakhmaninov is a greater pianist and conductor than a composer.

I know some of you guys will reply in rage, but let me finish: this is in no way disrespecting Rakhmaninov nor his compositions in any way.


Of course it is; you're claiming that Scriabin and Medtner are greater than Rachmaninoff. Of course, IMNSHO, this is absolutely wrong. Scriabin and Medtner never reached the level of depth that Rachmaninoff reaches in, say, the second movement of the second concerto, or the Preludes 32/10 and 13, or the third or fourth movements of the second symphony.

Rachmaninoff was a great pianist and conductor, but when it comes to composition I count him among the titans.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:37 AM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
It seems like a bit of a shallow question on the surface, but there's a lesson to be learned from it. Most great composers for the piano were also great pianists, and based on his recordings, I feel Rachmaninoff was a greater pianist than a composer. So it's more safe to follow the score and assume that he knew better than you do, rather than second-guess him. In the case of the hand distribution, it's a subtle effect which emphasizes the emptier sonority of the open fifth in the right hand, rather than the thickness of the full chord. Subtle though it may be, though, it's key to the way Rachmaninoff conceived the opening.

It seems extremely common to disregard most of the directions that Rachmaninoff wrote in his scores. The editions of the C-sharp minor Prelude with "sffff" directions seem to sum up the attitude that people have towards a piece which Rachmaninoff himself recorded several times, but never slammed through. He wasn't after bombast - he was after the sound of bells ringing.

I've heard it debated before about what Rachmaninov was best at, piano, composition or conducting. I find it hard to believe that this would ever be up for consideration. Being a composer at the level of a Rachmaninov is an achievement far beyond that of any conductor or pianist

Yes it is debatable. I used to think Rakhmaninov is a great composer. However, the more I listen to other composers of his contemporaries, such as, Scriabin and Medtner, the more I believe Rakhmaninov is a greater pianist and conductor than a composer.

I know some of you guys will reply in rage, but let me finish: this is in no way disrespecting Rakhmaninov nor his compositions in any way.


Of course it is; you're claiming that Scriabin and Medtner are greater than Rachmaninoff. Of course, IMNSHO, this is absolutely wrong. Scriabin and Medtner never reached the level of depth that Rachmaninoff reaches in, say, the second movement of the second concerto, or the Preludes 32/10 and 13, or the third or fourth movements of the second symphony.

Rachmaninoff was a great pianist and conductor, but when it comes to composition I count him among the titans.

How many works of Scriabin and Medtner have you really listened to?
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
It seems like a bit of a shallow question on the surface, but there's a lesson to be learned from it. Most great composers for the piano were also great pianists, and based on his recordings, I feel Rachmaninoff was a greater pianist than a composer. So it's more safe to follow the score and assume that he knew better than you do, rather than second-guess him. In the case of the hand distribution, it's a subtle effect which emphasizes the emptier sonority of the open fifth in the right hand, rather than the thickness of the full chord. Subtle though it may be, though, it's key to the way Rachmaninoff conceived the opening.

It seems extremely common to disregard most of the directions that Rachmaninoff wrote in his scores. The editions of the C-sharp minor Prelude with "sffff" directions seem to sum up the attitude that people have towards a piece which Rachmaninoff himself recorded several times, but never slammed through. He wasn't after bombast - he was after the sound of bells ringing.

I've heard it debated before about what Rachmaninov was best at, piano, composition or conducting. I find it hard to believe that this would ever be up for consideration. Being a composer at the level of a Rachmaninov is an achievement far beyond that of any conductor or pianist

Yes it is debatable. I used to think Rakhmaninov is a great composer. However, the more I listen to other composers of his contemporaries, such as, Scriabin and Medtner, the more I believe Rakhmaninov is a greater pianist and conductor than a composer.

I know some of you guys will reply in rage, but let me finish: this is in no way disrespecting Rakhmaninov nor his compositions in any way.


Of course it is; you're claiming that Scriabin and Medtner are greater than Rachmaninoff. Of course, IMNSHO, this is absolutely wrong. Scriabin and Medtner never reached the level of depth that Rachmaninoff reaches in, say, the second movement of the second concerto, or the Preludes 32/10 and 13, or the third or fourth movements of the second symphony.

Rachmaninoff was a great pianist and conductor, but when it comes to composition I count him among the titans.

How many works of Scriabin and Medtner have you really listened to?

More than you think. All Scriabin's sonatas, most of his preludes, his piano concerto, all Medtner's sonatas (several times, and I think they're amazing works), a couple Medtner concerti and some smaller pieces.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
It seems like a bit of a shallow question on the surface, but there's a lesson to be learned from it. Most great composers for the piano were also great pianists, and based on his recordings, I feel Rachmaninoff was a greater pianist than a composer. So it's more safe to follow the score and assume that he knew better than you do, rather than second-guess him. In the case of the hand distribution, it's a subtle effect which emphasizes the emptier sonority of the open fifth in the right hand, rather than the thickness of the full chord. Subtle though it may be, though, it's key to the way Rachmaninoff conceived the opening.

It seems extremely common to disregard most of the directions that Rachmaninoff wrote in his scores. The editions of the C-sharp minor Prelude with "sffff" directions seem to sum up the attitude that people have towards a piece which Rachmaninoff himself recorded several times, but never slammed through. He wasn't after bombast - he was after the sound of bells ringing.

I've heard it debated before about what Rachmaninov was best at, piano, composition or conducting. I find it hard to believe that this would ever be up for consideration. Being a composer at the level of a Rachmaninov is an achievement far beyond that of any conductor or pianist

Yes it is debatable. I used to think Rakhmaninov is a great composer. However, the more I listen to other composers of his contemporaries, such as, Scriabin and Medtner, the more I believe Rakhmaninov is a greater pianist and conductor than a composer.

I know some of you guys will reply in rage, but let me finish: this is in no way disrespecting Rakhmaninov nor his compositions in any way.


Of course it is; you're claiming that Scriabin and Medtner are greater than Rachmaninoff. Of course, IMNSHO, this is absolutely wrong. Scriabin and Medtner never reached the level of depth that Rachmaninoff reaches in, say, the second movement of the second concerto, or the Preludes 32/10 and 13, or the third or fourth movements of the second symphony.

Rachmaninoff was a great pianist and conductor, but when it comes to composition I count him among the titans.

How many works of Scriabin and Medtner have you really listened to?

More than you think. All Scriabin's sonatas, most of his preludes, his piano concerto, all Medtner's sonatas (several times, and I think they're amazing works), a couple Medtner concerti and some smaller pieces.

But no Scriabin's Symphonies?

Let's agree to disagree.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:46 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: antony

I've heard it debated before about what Rachmaninov was best at, piano, composition or conducting. I find it hard to believe that this would ever be up for consideration. Being a composer at the level of a Rachmaninov is an achievement far beyond that of any conductor or pianist

Yes it is debatable. I used to think Rakhmaninov is a great composer. However, the more I listen to other composers of his contemporaries, such as, Scriabin and Medtner, the more I believe Rakhmaninov is a greater pianist and conductor than a composer.

I know some of you guys will reply in rage, but let me finish: this is in no way disrespecting Rakhmaninov nor his compositions in any way.


Of course it is; you're claiming that Scriabin and Medtner are greater than Rachmaninoff. Of course, IMNSHO, this is absolutely wrong. Scriabin and Medtner never reached the level of depth that Rachmaninoff reaches in, say, the second movement of the second concerto, or the Preludes 32/10 and 13, or the third or fourth movements of the second symphony.

Rachmaninoff was a great pianist and conductor, but when it comes to composition I count him among the titans.

How many works of Scriabin and Medtner have you really listened to?

More than you think. All Scriabin's sonatas, most of his preludes, his piano concerto, all Medtner's sonatas (several times, and I think they're amazing works), a couple Medtner concerti and some smaller pieces.

But no Scriabin's Symphonies?

Let's agree to disagree.

Yes, that was just piano music. I've heard his 1st and 2nd symphonies, and I liked them a lot. But they do not move me in the way Rach's 2nd does.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:47 AM

Let me ask you guys something: Does it matter whose opinion you're reading? Would a composers opinion matter more than a pianists, in this (rather silly if I may add) debate?

Just wondering if I should join or not... grin

EDIT: Polyphonist: music does not exist to move you. There are other reasons as well... wink
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Let me ask you guys something: Does it matter whose opinion you're reading? Would a composers opinion matter more than a pianists, in this (rather silly if I may add) debate?

Just wondering if I should join or not... grin

I am a composer, and yes, feel free to join. I have no problem having this discussion as long as it doesn't escalate into a flame war.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Let me ask you guys something: Does it matter whose opinion you're reading? Would a composers opinion matter more than a pianists, in this (rather silly if I may add) debate?

Just wondering if I should join or not... grin

I am a composer, and yes, feel free to join. I have no problem having this discussion as long as it doesn't escalate into a flame war.

Not sure whether you are inviting to discuss or not with your "absolutely wrong" and "IMNSHO".

So I'll stay out. wink
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Let me ask you guys something: Does it matter whose opinion you're reading? Would a composers opinion matter more than a pianists, in this (rather silly if I may add) debate?

Just wondering if I should join or not... grin

EDIT: Polyphonist: music does not exist to move you. There are other reasons as well... wink

I can see where you are going. That's one main reason I hold Scriabin above Rakhmaninov in terms of composition skills.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Let me ask you guys something: Does it matter whose opinion you're reading? Would a composers opinion matter more than a pianists, in this (rather silly if I may add) debate?

Just wondering if I should join or not... grin

I am a composer, and yes, feel free to join. I have no problem having this discussion as long as it doesn't escalate into a flame war.

Not sure whether you are inviting to discuss or not with your "absolutely wrong" and "IMNSHO".

So I'll stay out. wink

Just because I have a strong opinion doesn't mean I don't want to discuss it. And "absolutely wrong" was the wrong phrase to use, sorry.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Let me ask you guys something: Does it matter whose opinion you're reading? Would a composers opinion matter more than a pianists, in this (rather silly if I may add) debate?

Just wondering if I should join or not... grin

EDIT: Polyphonist: music does not exist to move you. There are other reasons as well... wink

I can see where you are going. That's one main reason I hold Scriabin above Rakhmaninov in terms of composition skills.

What reason?
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 01:01 AM

Ok.

I'll be wearing this little baby and we can start: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qbN0A_FRJ5A/Ui...greenpepper.jpg

I think that when "classifying" composers you can go in two main different directions:
a. How much 'niceness' is in his music. What great music he wrote.
b. How much 'creativity' is in his music. How original he was.

In the case of Rachmaninoff I think that in "a" he was simply brilliant. His music is great, is heard all over the place, people love it and pianists love it. -

As far as "b" is concerned however, he seemed to disregard any new developments in music, and went his own new-romantic way. Which may be fine and dandy, but when it comes to composing, I (personally) feel very much restrained, if I have to base my stuff on a given melody, or a pre-existing idea. (and to explain, this is not a pun towards you, polyphonist. I'm in the middle of working on a commission on a well known theme, and while I'm enjoying the process and it's fun, it simply doesn't feel mine).

Somehow, when using the same ideas/stuff/aesthetic many times, for me (I repeat) it feels less creative...
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 01:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
As far as "b" is concerned however, he seemed to disregard any new developments in music, and went his own new-romantic way. Which may be fine and dandy, but when it comes to composing, I (personally) feel very much restrained, if I have to base my stuff on a given melody, or a pre-existing idea. (and to explain, this is not a pun towards you, polyphonist. I'm in the middle of working on a commission on a well known theme, and while I'm enjoying the process and it's fun, it simply doesn't feel mine).

Somehow, when using the same ideas/stuff/aesthetic many times, for me (I repeat) it feels less creative...

Okay, now we're getting somewhere. The part I disagree with here is your assumption that the fact that Rachmaninoff was a conservative automatically means he wasn't creative, and recycled ideas, which is just not true of him. And then for some reason you bring your own experience into the discussion, which is completely irrelevant.

Bach was a conservative also. Does that make Bach inferior to Scarlatti and Telemann?
Posted by: ScriabinAddict

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 01:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Yes, that was just piano music. I've heard his 1st and 2nd symphonies, and I liked them a lot. But they do not move me in the way Rach's 2nd does.


Go listen to the Poem of Ecstasy and Prometheus. While his first two symphonies are great, I don't think they compare to his other 3 (if you want to count the latter 2 as symphonies). There's nothing better than the climaxes of both of those two pieces (especially Prometheus).
Posted by: antony

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 01:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Let me ask you guys something: Does it matter whose opinion you're reading? Would a composers opinion matter more than a pianists, in this (rather silly if I may add) debate?

Just wondering if I should join or not... grin

EDIT: Polyphonist: music does not exist to move you. There are other reasons as well... wink

I can see where you are going. That's one main reason I hold Scriabin above Rakhmaninov in terms of composition skills.

You might think Scriabin was a better composer, but my point is their achievement as composers is far beyond that of even a great pianist or conductor
Posted by: antony

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 01:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Ok.

I'll be wearing this little baby and we can start: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qbN0A_FRJ5A/Ui...greenpepper.jpg

I think that when "classifying" composers you can go in two main different directions:
a. How much 'niceness' is in his music. What great music he wrote.
b. How much 'creativity' is in his music. How original he was.

In the case of Rachmaninoff I think that in "a" he was simply brilliant. His music is great, is heard all over the place, people love it and pianists love it. -

As far as "b" is concerned however, he seemed to disregard any new developments in music, and went his own new-romantic way. Which may be fine and dandy, but when it comes to composing, I (personally) feel very much restrained, if I have to base my stuff on a given melody, or a pre-existing idea. (and to explain, this is not a pun towards you, polyphonist. I'm in the middle of working on a commission on a well known theme, and while I'm enjoying the process and it's fun, it simply doesn't feel mine).

Somehow, when using the same ideas/stuff/aesthetic many times, for me (I repeat) it feels less creative...

"b" is called "ego"
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 01:48 AM

antony: I really need to go (school run), but you're kidding right? "b" is ego?!?! haha...
Posted by: antony

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 02:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
antony: I really need to go (school run), but you're kidding right? "b" is ego?!?! haha...

It takes a lot of "b" to produce "a". Better to laugh than to cry
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 02:04 AM

Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Ok.

I'll be wearing this little baby and we can start: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qbN0A_FRJ5A/Ui...greenpepper.jpg

I think that when "classifying" composers you can go in two main different directions:
a. How much 'niceness' is in his music. What great music he wrote.
b. How much 'creativity' is in his music. How original he was.

In the case of Rachmaninoff I think that in "a" he was simply brilliant. His music is great, is heard all over the place, people love it and pianists love it. -

As far as "b" is concerned however, he seemed to disregard any new developments in music, and went his own new-romantic way. Which may be fine and dandy, but when it comes to composing, I (personally) feel very much restrained, if I have to base my stuff on a given melody, or a pre-existing idea. (and to explain, this is not a pun towards you, polyphonist. I'm in the middle of working on a commission on a well known theme, and while I'm enjoying the process and it's fun, it simply doesn't feel mine).

Somehow, when using the same ideas/stuff/aesthetic many times, for me (I repeat) it feels less creative...

"b" is called "ego"

So are you insinuating what makes Rakhmaninov a great composer is just how nice his compositions sound?
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 02:05 AM

Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
antony: I really need to go (school run), but you're kidding right? "b" is ego?!?! haha...

It takes a lot of "b" to produce "a". Better to laugh than to cry

Alright. I'm out.

This is going nowhere.
Posted by: antony

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 02:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Ok.

I'll be wearing this little baby and we can start: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qbN0A_FRJ5A/Ui...greenpepper.jpg

I think that when "classifying" composers you can go in two main different directions:
a. How much 'niceness' is in his music. What great music he wrote.
b. How much 'creativity' is in his music. How original he was.

In the case of Rachmaninoff I think that in "a" he was simply brilliant. His music is great, is heard all over the place, people love it and pianists love it. -

As far as "b" is concerned however, he seemed to disregard any new developments in music, and went his own new-romantic way. Which may be fine and dandy, but when it comes to composing, I (personally) feel very much restrained, if I have to base my stuff on a given melody, or a pre-existing idea. (and to explain, this is not a pun towards you, polyphonist. I'm in the middle of working on a commission on a well known theme, and while I'm enjoying the process and it's fun, it simply doesn't feel mine).

Somehow, when using the same ideas/stuff/aesthetic many times, for me (I repeat) it feels less creative...

"b" is called "ego"

So are you insinuating what makes Rakhmaninov a great composer is just how nice his compositions sound?

I'm not but he is
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 02:48 AM

Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
antony: I really need to go (school run), but you're kidding right? "b" is ego?!?! haha...

It takes a lot of "b" to produce "a". Better to laugh than to cry
lol. It's agood thing I wore that flame armor... Brr...
Posted by: antony

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 05:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
antony: I really need to go (school run), but you're kidding right? "b" is ego?!?! haha...

It takes a lot of "b" to produce "a". Better to laugh than to cry
lol. It's agood thing I wore that flame armor... Brr...

Why don't you provide an example from both of the categories that you outlined from your definition; perhaps something of your own
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 07:44 AM

Originally Posted By: ScriabinAddict
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Yes, that was just piano music. I've heard his 1st and 2nd symphonies, and I liked them a lot. But they do not move me in the way Rach's 2nd does.


Go listen to the Poem of Ecstasy and Prometheus. While his first two symphonies are great, I don't think they compare to his other 3 (if you want to count the latter 2 as symphonies). There's nothing better than the climaxes of both of those two pieces (especially Prometheus).

Yes there is. The climax of the Rachmaninoff. Of course this is all subjective.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 08:19 AM

Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: antony
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
antony: I really need to go (school run), but you're kidding right? "b" is ego?!?! haha...

It takes a lot of "b" to produce "a". Better to laugh than to cry
lol. It's agood thing I wore that flame armor... Brr...

Why don't you provide an example from both of the categories that you outlined from your definition; perhaps something of your own
apart from the fact that Google is your friend and so is my signature, how about you tell me/us a little more about your own thoughts on the subject instead of throwing single phrase posts, huh? I mean do you disagree with the categories I provided or is it something else at hand here?
Posted by: antony

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 09:58 AM

Of course I disagree with your categories- yet the burden of proof is not on the one who disagrees, but the one who makes the claim. Considering the categories were created by you, it doesn't seem like you would be reluctant to present a composer or work that you think is successful because it employs the traits in category "a" and similarly examples of successful works/composers that employ category "b"
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 10:11 AM

But you see the point is that I don't care to persuade anyone. I'm not passionate at all for this (in fact I did call it a silly debate to begin with. If you were a bit careful you'd have noticed that).

If you are too eager to check examples of both categories, go over to these two websites:
www.musica-ferrum.com
www.northbysound.com

Both contain works of mine. Check, have a listen and see if they all feel the same... :-/

But it IS up to you in the end. I offered an idea and not much else (and something that Polyphonist was eager to discuss...). smile
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 10:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
But you see the point is that I don't care to persuade anyone. I'm not passionate at all for this (in fact I did call it a silly debate to begin with. If you were a bit careful you'd have noticed that).

If you are too eager to check examples of both categories, go over to these two websites:
www.musica-ferrum.com
www.northbysound.com

Both contain works of mine. Check, have a listen and see if they all feel the same... :-/

But it IS up to you in the end. I offered an idea and not much else (and something that Polyphonist was eager to discuss...). smile

I tried one of your websites and the page didn't load. Anyway, we're not discussing your music, we're discussing that of Rachmaninoff, Medtner, and Scriabin. You claim that the music of Rachmaninoff is inferior to that of Scriabin because Rachmaninoff was a conservative and refused to be swept up in the wave of atonality that permeated the first half of the twentieth century and which consumed Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Scriabin. Well, Bach lived during the beginning of the Classical reform movement. Yet he continued to write in the High Baroque way, using his distinctive mixture of the German, Italian, and French styles. Rachmaninoff is very similar in this respect - he remained with the harmonic language and sonority of Late Romanticism, while Scriabin went on to compose vast quantities of atonal music. So, using your criteria, Scarlatti should be superior to Bach.
Posted by: btb

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:09 AM

When Nikolas starts telling us all about his compositions,
I head for the hills ... having a low threshold of pain.

However, for those who mightn’t know it ...
at the Moscow Conservatory,
Rachmaninoff had Tchaikovsky as a teacher.

“At his final examination in keyboard harmony,
he was given a unique mark; the maximum possible score was five, which, as an acknowledgement of exceptional ability, could be supplemented with a plus mark.

Rachmaninoff earned a five, with four pluses
one each side, one below and one above.”

Kind regards, btb
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:13 AM

Originally Posted By: btb
When Nikolas starts telling us all about his compositions,
I head for the hills ... having a low threshold of pain.

However, for those who mightn’t know it ...
at the Moscow Conservatory,
Rachmaninoff had Tchaikovsky as a teacher.

“At his final examination in keyboard harmony,
he was given a unique mark; the maximum possible score was five, which, as an acknowledgement of exceptional ability, could be supplemented with a plus mark.

Rachmaninoff earned a five, with four pluses
one each side, one below and one above.”

Kind regards, btb

thumb
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:16 AM

Polyphonist, my reply and the links where towards Anthony and not yourself. Both links work over here, so not sure on what's wrong...

I just hope that nobody thinks I'm comparing myself to Rachmaninoff! That would be dead idiotic from myself! smile
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:20 AM

Originally Posted By: btb
When Nikolas starts telling us all about his compositions,
I head for the hills ... having a low threshold of pain.

I love it!

I love the fact that you end your post with the following:

Quote:
Kind regards, btb


And thank you polyphonist as well for acknowledging that! quite kind of both of you!
Posted by: btb

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:26 AM

I fear the Greeks bearing gifts!

kind regards, btb
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:27 AM

LOL!
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: btb
When Nikolas starts telling us all about his compositions,
I head for the hills ... having a low threshold of pain.

I love it!

I love the fact that you end your post with the following:

Quote:
Kind regards, btb


And thank you polyphonist as well for acknowledging that! quite kind of both of you!

I was referring to the story about Rachmaninoff, not his insults about your compositions.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:55 AM

I know... at least I read it this way. Still it was an opportunity for a punch below the belt! :P

After all I'm still laughing in my flame armor.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I know... at least I read it this way. Still it was an opportunity for a punch below the belt! :P

After all I'm still laughing in my flame armor.

You seem to really want to turn this into a flame war.
Posted by: antony

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
But you see the point is that I don't care to persuade anyone. I'm not passionate at all for this (in fact I did call it a silly debate to begin with. If you were a bit careful you'd have noticed that).

If you are too eager to check examples of both categories, go over to these two websites:
www.musica-ferrum.com
www.northbysound.com

Both contain works of mine. Check, have a listen and see if they all feel the same... :-/

But it IS up to you in the end. I offered an idea and not much else (and something that Polyphonist was eager to discuss...). smile

You're still leaving it up to me. The criteria was yours not mine, why not give an example.
I find it hard to believe you don't care if composing is your life's work
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 12:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I know... at least I read it this way. Still it was an opportunity for a punch below the belt! :P

After all I'm still laughing in my flame armor.

You seem to really want to turn this into a flame war.
If I'm giving this impression, I'm sorry. I'm just taking this thread quite lightly, that's all (thus all the comments and pic about armor and stuff. Completely and utterly silly).

Anthony: You don't seem to get it. It's a post on a (silly) internet debate. That's all. You want to take it apart, by all means. But YOU want examples. You disagree with the classification I made. That's fine by me, you know... I won't bite, I won't fight back, and I probably won't post much else...

Perhaps I'm trolling a bit. :-/
Posted by: beet31425

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 01:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Perhaps I'm trolling a bit. :-/

Tone is everything. Nikolas, good-natured, self-deprecating, liberal with the smiley-faces, is the very antithesis of an internet troll. No matter what he actually writes. smile

-J
Posted by: Old Man

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 03:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I'm just taking this thread quite lightly, that's all (thus all the comments and pic about armor and stuff. Completely and utterly silly).

As well you should. And as well we all should when reading any thread on PW.

Originally Posted By: beet31425
Tone is everything. Nikolas, good-natured, self-deprecating, liberal with the smiley-faces, is the very antithesis of an internet troll.

thumb Nikolas is one of the true gentlemen on this forum. Even if I thought he wrote something spiteful or nasty, I'd first question my own interpretation of what he wrote before I'd ever question his intent. "Nasty" just doesn't seem to be in his DNA.

And if he's doing a bit of trolling at the moment, more power to him. The place needs a little livening up from time to time. grin
Posted by: carey

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 03:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Old Man
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I'm just taking this thread quite lightly, that's all (thus all the comments and pic about armor and stuff. Completely and utterly silly).

As well you should. And as well we all should when reading any thread on PW.

Originally Posted By: beet31425
Tone is everything. Nikolas, good-natured, self-deprecating, liberal with the smiley-faces, is the very antithesis of an internet troll.

thumb Nikolas is one of the true gentlemen on this forum. Even if I thought he wrote something spiteful or nasty, I'd first question my own interpretation of what he wrote before I'd ever question his intent. "Nasty" just doesn't seem to be in his DNA.

And if he's doing a bit of trolling at the moment, more power to him. The place needs a little livening up from time to time. grin


Ditto !!!! thumb thumb thumb
Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 03:13 PM

If you'll allow me to divert the attention a bit, Rachmaninoff has greater credentials and had greater success, both as a pianist and composer, compared with Scriabin or Medtner.. by pretty much any measure. All three are missing something, though, compared with the masters Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and later Shostakovich. I suppose that I am predisposed to prefer the composers who respected and understood the contributions of the Western composers, well enough to ultimately improve on them. The "Russian Romantics" were a little too insular and self-absorbed for my taste, though the next guy may have exactly the opposite opinion and admire their individuality.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 03:46 PM

Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
If you'll allow me to divert the attention a bit, Rachmaninoff has greater credentials and had greater success, both as a pianist and composer, compared with Scriabin or Medtner.. by pretty much any measure. All three are missing something, though, compared with the masters Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and later Shostakovich. I suppose that I am predisposed to prefer the composers who respected and understood the contributions of the Western composers, well enough to ultimately improve on them. The "Russian Romantics" were a little too insular and self-absorbed for my taste, though the next guy may have exactly the opposite opinion and admire their individuality.

So you're saying that Rachmaninoff was a Russian Romantic, and Tchaikovsky wasn't? Not sure how you're figuring that one out. And yes, Tchaikovsky is a master, even a genius, but Rachmaninoff (his student) surpassed him in almost every way.
Posted by: antony

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 10/31/13 11:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
[quote=Nikolas]I know... at least I read it this way. Still it was an opportunity for a punch below the belt! :P

After all I'm still laughing in my flame armor.

You seem to really want to turn this into a flame war.
If I'm giving this impression, I'm sorry. I'm just taking this thread quite lightly, that's all (thus all the comments and pic about armor and stuff. Completely and utterly silly).

Anthony: You don't seem to get it. It's a post on a (silly) internet debate. That's all. You want to take it apart, by all means. But YOU want examples. You disagree with the classification I made. That's fine by me, you know... I won't bite, I won't fight back, and I probably won't post much else...

Perhaps I'm trolling a bit. :-/ [/quote
Of course not, you're too superior for all this
Posted by: ando

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/01/13 04:12 AM

This thread has been trashed beyond recognition.
Posted by: drumour

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/01/13 05:58 AM

Originally Posted By: ando
This thread has been trashed beyond recognition.



That's par for the course just now. (The spoilers tend to get bored after a while and either become useful contributors or go away.) The problem, of course, is that forum members who have something thoughtful or worthwhile to contribute don't contribute for fear of being trashed by this year's young turk or just don't want to get involved in flame wars.

Live in hope.

John
Posted by: patH

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/04/13 05:57 PM

Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
If you'll allow me to divert the attention a bit, Rachmaninoff has greater credentials and had greater success, both as a pianist and composer, compared with Scriabin or Medtner.. by pretty much any measure. All three are missing something, though, compared with the masters Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and later Shostakovich. I suppose that I am predisposed to prefer the composers who respected and understood the contributions of the Western composers, well enough to ultimately improve on them. The "Russian Romantics" were a little too insular and self-absorbed for my taste, though the next guy may have exactly the opposite opinion and admire their individuality.

The funny thing is: The Group of the Five (Cuj, Balakirev, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakow and Borodin) wanted to make "real" Russian music, and distance themselves from Tschaikowsky. Whether Rachmaninoff is more "Russian" than the Five is open for debate.

As for me, I prefer Shostakovich to Rachmaninoff by far. As for Scriabin... A few months ago I was at a concert with the Cello concerto by Scriabin, and a Symphony by Rachmaninoff (the 3rd or 4th, I don't remember; the one he wrote while being in the USA). And I liked the Rachmaninoff better, because it sounded more like Shostakovich, while the Scriabin sounded a bit too late-romantic for my taste.

This has nothing to do with which hand to use where while playing a prelude, but it's fun discussing music anyway. And since the spin-off thread about innovation and conservatism was locked, I might as well post it here.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/04/13 06:20 PM

Originally Posted By: patH
A few months ago I was at a concert with the Cello concerto by Scriabin, and a Symphony by Rachmaninoff (the 3rd or 4th, I don't remember; the one he wrote while being in the USA).

He didn't write a 4th; it must have been the 3rd, in A minor. Glorious music.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/04/13 06:21 PM

Originally Posted By: patH
As for me, I prefer Shostakovich to Rachmaninoff by far.

Thank you.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/04/13 07:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
But you see the point is that I don't care to persuade anyone. I'm not passionate at all for this (in fact I did call it a silly debate to begin with. If you were a bit careful you'd have noticed that).

If you are too eager to check examples of both categories, go over to these two websites:
www.musica-ferrum.com
www.northbysound.com

Both contain works of mine. Check, have a listen and see if they all feel the same... :-/

But it IS up to you in the end. I offered an idea and not much else (and something that Polyphonist was eager to discuss...). smile

I tried one of your websites and the page didn't load. Anyway, we're not discussing your music, we're discussing that of Rachmaninoff, Medtner, and Scriabin. You claim that the music of Rachmaninoff is inferior to that of Scriabin because Rachmaninoff was a conservative and refused to be swept up in the wave of atonality that permeated the first half of the twentieth century and which consumed Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Scriabin. Well, Bach lived during the beginning of the Classical reform movement. Yet he continued to write in the High Baroque way, using his distinctive mixture of the German, Italian, and French styles. Rachmaninoff is very similar in this respect - he remained with the harmonic language and sonority of Late Romanticism, while Scriabin went on to compose vast quantities of atonal music. So, using your criteria, Scarlatti should be superior to Bach.


+100
Posted by: stores

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/04/13 09:43 PM

Originally Posted By: patH
(the 3rd or 4th, I don't remember; the one he wrote while being in the USA).


He only composed three and if memory serves me correctly he didn't compose any of them in the U.S. The third was premiered in the U.S., however.
Posted by: patH

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 05:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
He didn't write a 4th; it must have been the 3rd, in A minor. Glorious music.

I just did an Internet search. Rachmaninoff wrote his third symphony in 1935-36; but made revisions to it in 1938. I guess I must have read in the program text that he made the revisions in the USA, or that the premiere was in the USA.
Anyway, it was a symphony that he wrote while being homesick.

But he still is no Shostakovich. One concert I attended this year was with a piano concerto by Rachmaninoff (the second; the one that was used for "All by myself"), and Shostakovich's 10th symphony. I preferred the latter.

But tastes and colors are not open for debate. wink
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 07:44 AM

Originally Posted By: patH
But he still is no Shostakovich.

True.
Posted by: bkw58

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 08:30 AM

Symphonic Dances orchestral suite - 3 movements - is sometimes mistakenly referred to as his 4th symphony. It was completed in the USA late in the composer's career. Evidence suggests it was actually meant to be a ballet but never quite got there. An interesting work nonetheless. In tandem with his Rhapsody it seems to reveal an incipient progression into modernism.
Posted by: the nosy ape

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 08:42 AM

Originally Posted By: patH
One concert I attended this year was with a piano concerto by Rachmaninoff (the second; the one that was used for "All by myself")...

You mean this one?
Posted by: griffin2417

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 10:39 AM

Originally Posted By: the nosy ape
Originally Posted By: patH
One concert I attended this year was with a piano concerto by Rachmaninoff (the second; the one that was used for "All by myself")...

You mean this one?


laugh laugh
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 10:44 AM

Originally Posted By: the nosy ape
Originally Posted By: patH
One concert I attended this year was with a piano concerto by Rachmaninoff (the second; the one that was used for "All by myself")...

You mean this one?

LOL They are such great players!

Let's end this silly interweb debate with this:

Posted by: griffin2417

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 10:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: the nosy ape
Originally Posted By: patH
One concert I attended this year was with a piano concerto by Rachmaninoff (the second; the one that was used for "All by myself")...

You mean this one?

LOL They are such great players!

Let's end this silly interweb debate with this:



laugh laugh laugh

My teacher plans to have me start on this next year. I'm sending him this and will tell him I'll first need get the proper equipment.

Thanks for this. I love starting the day with a good laugh!

Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 04:04 PM

Originally Posted By: bkw58
Symphonic Dances orchestral suite - 3 movements - is sometimes mistakenly referred to as his 4th symphony. It was completed in the USA late in the composer's career. Evidence suggests it was actually meant to be a ballet but never quite got there. An interesting work nonetheless. In tandem with his Rhapsody it seems to reveal an incipient progression into modernism.

I still think of it as a Russian Romantic work, and I'm glad Rachmaninoff never got sucked into writing modern music.
Posted by: patH

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 04:18 PM

Originally Posted By: the nosy ape
You mean this one?

That's the song. But I think I prefer the Céline Dion Version.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 04:43 PM

Originally Posted By: patH

That's the song. But I think I prefer the Céline Dion Version.

No, this one... wink

Posted by: bkw58

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/05/13 06:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Symphonic Dances orchestral suite - 3 movements - is sometimes mistakenly referred to as his 4th symphony. It was completed in the USA late in the composer's career. Evidence suggests it was actually meant to be a ballet but never quite got there. An interesting work nonetheless. In tandem with his Rhapsody it seems to reveal an incipient progression into modernism.

I still think of it as a Russian Romantic work, and I'm glad Rachmaninoff never got sucked into writing modern music.


Not even just a little incipient? confused

Okay. I acquiesce. smile
Posted by: wr

Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude C# minor hands uncrossed? - 11/06/13 08:33 AM

Originally Posted By: patH
A few months ago I was at a concert with the Cello concerto by Scriabin...



This is tantalizing news indeed, a cello concerto of Scriabin's...is it a recent discovery? Or what? I'd love to hear it.