April 1, 1873, 140 years (plus one day) ago, Sergei Rachmaninoff was born. In all the rush to get works off the drawing board in recent days, yesterday came and went without acknowledging my love of his music. No April Fool, he, his music (wait, wait for the old cliche!) speaks volumes to me. As I've noted many times over the last few years, music constantly plays while I am at work; sometimes as simple background, focus-less in its soothing quality . . . other times quite the muse.
I've always found Rachmaninoff's compositions to fill ever changing needs during studio time. His solo piano works, especially the etudes, always seem to egg on the creative juices as I run pencil marks across Bristol board. I am ever engrossed in the Concertos, especially the fourth which somehow seems to be a sad sister in rarely being heard on the radio or in concert and one of my favorite 'go to' works for more than simple listening pleasure (always a nice pairing for an afternoon of piano music with any of Prokofiev's Concertos).
Almost trite in its astounding number of recordings, the Paganini Rhapsody (who can resist the sublime 18th variation?) never fails to inspire even after listening to any number of fine artist's interpretations of it (my current favorite being that of Lang Lang).
The Second Symphony, admittedly lush and almost cinematic in scope, finds constant play list appeal for me as does the Sonata for Cello and Piano (Op 19) (I tend to line the Sonata up with any Chamber work by Ravel). Both The Isle of the Dead and The Rock offer very evocative sound pictures that lend themselves to very moody drawing board subjects, don't get played that often, but always await that perfectly appropriate time to work their magic.
Happy Belated Birthday, Sergei. I think I will have to program an afternoon of his piano compositions today as I begin the next to last work for the Woodson 'thing'!