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Sergei Rachmaninov

Prelude Op. 23, No. 2, in B-flat Major  Play

Alessio Bax Piano

Recorded on 08/28/2007, uploaded on 01/09/2009

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Prelude Op. 23, No. 2, in B-flat Major       Sergei Rachmaninov

Perhaps the most renowned composition by Sergei Rachmaninoff during his lifetime was the Prelude in c-sharp minor. Fresh from his studies at the Moscow Conservatory in 1892, he wrote it as part of a group of five Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3, but it was during his concert tours after he left Russia in 1917 that the piece invariably was demanded on his programs (and if he did not play it as part of the concert, it was demanded as an encore). Whatever his thoughts about the piece at the time he wrote it, he certainly never envisioned a cycle of preludes in all the major and minor keys. Nevertheless, he returned to the genre in 1901, composing a work in g minor (it would become No. 5 in his next collection), and in 1903 wrote nine others, publishing the group as his Op. 23. Rachmaninoff would complete the cycle of keys with 13 additional preludes, composed in 1910 and published as Op. 32. Although each collection is carefully arranged to alternate mood and key, there is otherwise no strict logic to the sequence, nor, as with the two collections of études-tableaux, is there a need to perform them as a group.     Alessio Bax