A young Sergei Rachmaninoff at the piano.

(Photo: public domain)

We all need a little help from friends, and one of Sergei Rachmaninoff's most supportive friends was the great Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky cheered for Rachmaninoff from his box seat at concerts and paired their works together in concert.

But just as Rachmaninoff started to find his footing as a composer, Tchaikovsky died unexpectedly. Tchaikovsky had come to play the role of mentor and father figure to Rachmaninoff when he was a student. The elder composer's sudden death was an immeasurable blow to the talented but insecure Rachmaninoff. 

In this episode, host Karla Walker and conductor and lecturer Scott O'Neil dig deep into these traumatic events from Rachmaninoff's childhood and young adulthood in order to shed light on the composer and musician he would become. And they look at the piece Rachmaninoff poured his heart into the moment he learned of his mentor's death: his Elegiac Trio No. 2. Subscribe so you don't miss an episode of The Great Composers.

Featured Music From 'The Great Composers: Rachmaninoff'

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