Preludes, Op. 3 No. 2 (1892) and Op. 23 (1901)
Études-tableaux, Op. 39 (1916)
Nikolay Lugansky, piano
Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the last exponents of the figure of the pianist-composer. Like Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, and Busoni, he excelled in the interpretation of the canonical repertoire and used to premiere his own works. The Prelude in C sharp minor, second of the five Morceaux de Fantaisie op. 3, quickly became an absolute success and a mandatory encore performance in recitals, to the displeasure of the author himself. Along with the set of ten preludes op. 23 and later op. 32, form a complete series of 24 preludes in all major and minor tones, dedicated to his cousin and hotelier Alexander Siloti.
In contrast to the preludes, which contain well-defined moods and a coherent development of themes, Études-tableaux are musical evocations based on external images or visual stimuli, with a profound influence by the music of Alexander Scriabin. They represent a remarkable advance in piano technique and are the last major work that Rachmaninoff wrote before leaving Russia. The series that forms op. 39 is considered the most demanding, both from a technical point of view and in exploring the character and mood of each piece.
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