Rachmaninoff, Prelude Op. 23, No. 1 in F# minor

Posted by: RachFan

Rachmaninoff, Prelude Op. 23, No. 1 in F# minor - 10/23/12 03:45 PM

Sergei Rachmaninov first performed his Preludes Op. 23 c. 1900 for the Prison Concerts, a charity event, arranged by Princess Lieven at the Moscow Nobility Hall. Rachmaninov dedicated this volume to Alexander Siloti, his cousin and second piano teacher (Nicolai Zverev having been his first teacher).

The Prelude No. 1 in F#m is a very brooding and searching piece. The atmosphere seems to be a dreary, rainy day. This music has four levels of writing—the melody in the right hand, duets in the bass, background accompaniment, and cross-overs by the arms. The left hand mostly plays a basso ostinato which is generally subdued unless it is playing the melody.

I hope you’ll enjoy hearing this prelude.



Comments welcome.

Piano: Baldwin Model L Artist Grand (6’3”) with lid fully open
Recorder: Korg MR-1000
Microphones: Earthworks TC-20 matched pair of small diaphragm omni-directional condenser mics in A-B configuration

Posted by: apple*

Re: Rachmaninoff, Prelude Op. 23, No. 1 in F# minor - 10/24/12 07:08 AM

I am enjoying thie prelude. I heard it years ago and decided to learn it but fairly quickly gave up the endeavor. Anyway, I am very familiar with the piece. I must have decided fairly quickly it was a bit too difficult.

Thanks David.. once again, I can't tell you how enjoyable it is to stumble upon your recordings in my jumbled up ipod. they are so unique and it takes me almost a minute to recognize what they are. I usually have to look.
Posted by: RachFan

Re: Rachmaninoff, Prelude Op. 23, No. 1 in F# minor - 10/24/12 05:14 PM

Hi apple,

I'm happy that you liked this prelude so much. These days it seems that the younger pianists believe that Rachmaninoff wrote only two preludes, Op. 3, No. 2 in C#m and Op. 23, No. 5 in Gm (which has now attained the status of a "conservatory anvil"). Seems like they often don't explore the treasures of the other 9 preludes in Op. 23 or the 13 in Op. 32 and are missing out! Anyway, I did do a recording of this prelude at hand in the mid-80s but am glad that I restudied it now, working out some bugs in the earlier recording while upgrading the sound to digital as well.