I found a wonderful CD today; Sviatoslav Richter plays Rach piano preludes and etudes-tableaux.
Rachmaninov brings technical ingenuity with Romantic ideals to a beautiful marriage; from gentle melodies, complex harmonies and of course, the sick passages that only a pianist madman will try to play.
The good news about this CD is that it doesn’t pander to the audience’s pathetic desire to hear ‘pop classics’, you will NOT find the notorious C-Sharp minor prelude of 1892; I have yet to find any other performance of the other pieces in opus 3 than that bastardised work.
This collection contains a prelude which was the last piece I seriously undertook as a pianist; the Op. 32 G-sharp minor prelude; I LOVED the big fat arpeggiated chord which is orgasmic after the variated theme reaches a harmonic and emotional climax. I’m simple in my music, I know.
Another of my favourites is the D-minor moderato etude from Op. 33. This piece meant a lot to me once upon a time. Romanticism really came to mean a lot to me, even though I didn’t realise it at the time. Modernist music, I found, never lived up to its cultural predecessor, even though the Second Viennese school showed the logical conclusions of European harmony.
I need to find me more lush music; Wagner, R Strauss, early Schoenberg, and to top it off, Stockhausen’s kontakte and the Licht suite. I just can’t find anyone who wants to go and see Late Romantic opera with. Any takers?