Posts Tagged ‘rachmaninov’


It is my son’s 4th birthday today.

I just attended his Parent-Teacher Conference on Saturday and realized that he is a much-loved child, with his cheeky grin and ready hugs.

Yesterday evening, he drove me absolutely bananas while I was trying to bake a cake / ice a cake / pack all of the 25 goodie bags for his classmates in school. I ignored him, marched up the stairs for a quick shower, then returned to the hall to sit at the piano for a while.

After the second reading of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, he came up to me and said, “I’m sorry, Mummy, for making you angry.” I stopped and gave him a hug.

Did I mention that we also held our wedding dinner 7 years ago today?

We are truly blessed.

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It’s funny how when I was much younger, I had considered it oh such a chore to play this, that it was oh so boring and slow moving and nothing very much happens. I just wanted the storms in the first movement and the action in the third movement thank you very much.

[That’s why for many years, the Moonlight did it for me. It had enough angst and anger and the obligatory second movement was not as long or as involved as the Pathetique. But that’s another story for another day.]

Then I grew up.

And now I find myself gravitating towards this again, appreciating it for it’s contemplation, for it’s clean lines and simple variations, it’s very predictable return to the main theme. It is like that walk to the train station after all the rushing to get ready to leave the house and finally leaving, that quiet, contemplative walk alone wherein you collect your thoughts to start the day or just empty your mind and listen to your footsteps, that brief reprieve from my neverending and mostly futile fight against everything else in the world that I habitually fight against.

It is especially comforting playing it on a muted piano between closing one section of your submissions and starting another.

When I was fourteen, I wanted to be a Beethoven player. Then I was waylaid by Chopin, enamoured by Rachmaninov, distracted by Listz.

I have now begun my return to Beethoven again, true to the sonata form exposition-transition-return.

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He had always wanted to write music, and he could give no other identity to the thing he sought. If you want to know what it is, he thought, listen to the first phrases of Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto – or the last movement of Rachmaninoff’s Second. Men have not found the words for it nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music.
~ Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead


We just bought tickets to watch the Berlin Philharmonic play Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances in November. I wouldn’t have paid the slightly prohibitive price for the tickets if it wasn’t Rachmaninov.

After all this time, Rachmaninov still makes me want to cry and laugh and celebrate being alive, all at the same time.

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We decided after a couple of months to change the sleeping music in our room upstairs because the Largo CD was frankly driving the two of us slightly bananas. We hate the last few songs and for the last weeks, have been turning it off once Peanut falls asleep.

So now we have a selection of Rachmaninov played at 9:30pm every night for Peanut and Lion to go to sleep. I picked it out from my stash yesterday night when we got home from my parents’. On the CD sleeve, it said “songs for passion and love” or something like that, which made me slightly apprehensive at first.

But then passion and love doesn’t always have to be in that romantic sense right? And I figured it is never too early to teach Peanut and Lion about passion and love, two very important ingredients in life, in my humble opinion.

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