I will be seeing Hough Plays Rachmaninoff. The conductor is Xian Zhang and the piano player is Stephen Hough. Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian pianist, composer, and conductor of the late Romantic period. He was very tall as well standing at an astounding 6’6”. He was born into an aristocratic family in Russia, and lived in Beverly Hills, California, the latter years of his life. He never assimilated to American culture and brought what he loved to this country, music.

 

Reading these aspects of his life causes me to think, he had the opportunity to become as good as he was because of his wealthy family. Usually musicians that come from a wealthy family have more trained musically than those that come from poor families. Rachmaninoff was one of the greatest of his time and I can hear it in his music (played by Hough). Hough does a great job at imitating Rachmaninoff. The cool thing about this piece is the violins playing the theme and the piano decorating and embellishing the piece. Hearing the piece beforehand allowed me to see how much work is put into the music. I watched a clip on YouTube of Stephen Hough explaining what Rachmaninoff does in a Theme of Paganini. It was also cool seeing the skip from the one to the five be played in such a way I’ve never heard before. I am interested to see how this goes in person. This is a symphony orchestra and it is so cool seeing the unity.

 

Richard D., Sylvester. Rachmaninoff’s Complete Songs : A Companion with Texts and Translations. Indiana University Press, 2014. Russian Music Studies.