Sergei Rachmaninoff
Preludes, Op. 23



by SirArthur6 USER (14 Reviews)
December 4th, 2012 | 7 replies

Release Date: 1903 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the finest ever composers for piano teach us exactly how it’s done.

Born towards the end of the Romantic period in musical history, Rachmaninoff was introduced to an era where dissonance was becoming less subtle, strong emotions were more effusively expressed in music, and the fortepiano had evolved into the pianoforte and was becoming the grand piano as we know it today. Rachmaninoff was not a great innovator towards early 20th Century styles, but is commonly cited as one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in the Russian classical tradition, and his music still stands popular today with those whose tastes veer towards classical music.

My love for Rachmaninoff started when I heard his infamous Prelude in C-sharp Minor from his third opus. This piece captivated me. Its brooding opening, its frantic mid-section, and an ending that could soundtrack the most devastating of tragedies made me fall in love with this composer’s music. It was pure emotion perfectly and directly translated into music.

After hearing this I decided to seek out more of Rachmaninoff’s piano works and found this collection of preludes. Just over half an hour in length, Rachmaninoff decides it’s time to show us the many facets of the piano. By alternating minor and major keys every prelude, Rachmaninoff displays a colourful array of emotions: from the soaring and majestic Prelude in B-flat Major; to the solemn, texture-changing expedition of Prelude in D minor, Rachmaninoff proves once again that he is not only a technically proficient master of the piano but can carve out various emotions effortlessly.

The most famous piece from this opus, and one that I’d most recommend, would be Prelude in G minor. A creeping theme in a minor key, big block piano chords, virtuosic arpeggios underneath a gorgeous melody, a climax during which the pianist is instructed to beat the piano as though it owes him money – this piece has all the trademarks of what makes Rachmaninoff unique and probably more accessible than most other ‘classical’ composers.

This opus is an instant recommendation to anyone who enjoys piano virtuoso, or anyone who has an appreciation for the Russian Romantic style. This opus may not be as tightly put together as his piano concertos, but Rachmaninoff certainly doesn’t disappoint with this alluring and diverse collection of preludes.

Recent reviews by this author
Ukandanz AwoBig Big Train Folklore
Anna Meredith VarmintsSnarky Puppy Family Dinner, Vol. 2
Shiina Ringo Heisei FuuzokuShiina Ringo Hi Izuru Tokoro
user ratings (9)

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 4th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

Well there we go. A review no one will probably ever read, but I love Rachmaninoff and I think he deserves a bit more attention so wrote this. Anyone who does read this, feedback on the review would be greatly appreciated.

December 4th 2012


great review, have heard two of his concertos and other bits and pieces of his music, need to listen to this, pos'ed

December 4th 2012


Good review. Haven't heard all these preludes but I love anything Rachmaninoff, his 2nd piano concerto is one of my all-time favorites

December 4th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

His 2nd piano concerto is probably my favourite work from him as well. I wasn't too impressed by his Symphonic Dances, but everything else, including all his piano works are all fantastic imo.

December 4th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

The review was nice. With composers like Rachmaninoff, it's difficult to find reviewers like you. Have a POS.

December 4th 2012


Excellent work here. Rachmaninoff is not one of my favorites but he definitely has some amazing recordings' like "Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30" & "Allegro ma non tanto." Fabulous stuff, good luck, keep reviewing classical, that would be pretty cool. Pos'd

December 5th 2012


Prelude in C# Minor is basically one my favorite piano pieces ever. My friends have rec'd Rachmaninoff to me for a while but I never got around to it. Good review, it makes me want to listen.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2017
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy