Rachmaninoff, Sergei Vasilyevich
As a composer he was strongly influenced by his friend Tchaikovsky. Rachmaninoff's music, particularly his piano compositions, are characterized by their dark and massive chords, whose dramatic effects and strong melodic lines have made them enormously popular. His best-known works are the second (1901) of his four piano concertos, and the Prelude in C Sharp Minor (1892), for piano. Other compositions include Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (1934), for piano and orchestra; an orchestral tone poem, The Isle of the Dead (1909); The Bells (1913), for chorus and orchestra; three symphonies; two sacred choral works, Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (1910) and Vespers (1915); and many piano pieces and songs.
See his Recollections (tr. 1934); biographies by J. Culshaw (1950), V. I. Seroff (1950), S. Bertensson and J. Leyda (1956), and G. Norris (1976).
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