Rachmaninov – Etudes-tableaux / Variations on a theme by Corelli


Rachmaninov wrote two series of what he called études-tableaux: study paintings. Maybe his idea came from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an exhibition, but the comparison between music and painting was in the late romantic era all over the place. One need only to look at the origins of the term impressionism and its use in music for instance.

These are all of the nine parts of Rachmaninov’s second series, composed in 1917. It is the more demanding of the two, but also one that is seen as more recorded. For all its demands, it might be many pianist’s favourite.

If you like your music dripping with melancholy, you should try this. This is a superb recording and impeccably done. Ashkenazy was a good interpreter of Rachmaninov’s works. He did the first series (op. 33) as well, so if you like these there is more to be explored. there is a good recording of the piano concerts with conductor André Previn as well, in case your curiosity is not satisfied.

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