Sergei Rachmaninoff

Photo: public domain

Sergei Rachmaninoff had nothing after fleeing from the Russian Revolution in 1917. No home. No money. No country.

Thankfully, he had what one newspaper dubbed his “million dollar hands.” Rachmaninoff relied on those hands as an in-demand concert pianist almost exclusively for the next 20 years. When the urge to compose finally struck again, he took a little theme by Nicolo Paganini and turned it into a tour de force for the piano and orchestra, called Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

In this final episode of the Great Composers series on Rachmaninoff, CPR Classical host Karla Walker and conductor and lecturer Scott O'Neil also walk us through Rachmaninoff’s final masterpiece -- the Symphonic Dances. Rachmaninoff reaches back to the debilitating early failure of Symphony No. 1 and brings those early musical ideas to a glorious new realization. 

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Featured Music From 'The Great Composers: Rachmaninoff'

Check out this Spotify playlist and explore more than five hours of music featured in this series.