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Thread: Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [Piano]

  1. #1
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    Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [Piano]

    I've just finished his cis-minor-prelude and I'd like to start with his second piano concerto. Anyone who have any comments regarding that piece? I don't care if it's overrated, so don't even mention it. =)

    Btw I can reach up to ten whites with both hands, is that enough?

  2. #2
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hi Anders,

    Welcome aboard the Starship MIMF where everyone is a star. Please do make yourself feel right at home.

    I'm impressed that you are attempting Rach's 2nd piano concerto after completing his C#-minor prelude. My piano coach had me completely learn all of Rachmaninoff's preludes for piano before tackling the 2nd and Rach's 3rd. I am forever grateful for his insistence on that. Rach's 2nd and 3rd are the *warhorses* which require technique, musicality, and physical/emotional stamina. I remember hearing Dmitri Sgouros at the age of 12, playing Rach's 3rd and was impressed by his perfect technique but he suffered from a lack of musical interpretation ergo there was no feeling. I left the Hall feeling like a cold fish - awed by his technical prowess but stunned by his lack of musical personality.

    You must really analyse the score from a musicological perspective and from a playing technique perspective. Do your homework on the fingerings and phrasings. Bite off little bits of it at a time so that you can intimately study the score, both at your desk and at the piano. Don't try to devour it whole - you'll only lose out. Pay attention to the rhythms in the first and third movements especially. The second movement is like a nocturne and will yield it's fruits sooner than the first and third movements.

    Good luck in your travails,

    Corno Dolce
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it! I'm going to work on it slowly from the start and study the fingerings for sure. I heard Rach 2 were easier than Rach 1 and Rach 3, so that's the concerto I want to start with. I have two piano teachers at one time, but I'm only playing to please myself surprisingly. I'm no Horowitz, but the first page was really easy to pin down.

    Is there a video that shows Dmitri Sgouros playing rach 3?

  4. #4
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hello Anders,

    It is doubtful that there is a video of Sgouros playing *Rach's 3rd*. Try YouTube and see if you can come up with something.

    Cheers,

    Corno Dolce

    Alert: Here he is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNB98D8H3Wo

    Wow - he had matured since I heard him at Carnegie Hall.

    In the Ossia Cadenza he used during this Melbourne Concert, his playing of the chords are not the way the composer had written them. Get your Rach 3rd score out, look and read very carefully the way Rachmaninoff notates the chords and the rhythms. Here are not so much wrong notes, these are rhythms which go contrary to the score and are not musicologically informed. Listen to a recording conducted by Andre Previn and played by Vladimir Ashkenazy - there you will hear a musicologically informed interpretation. As a contrast, listen to Arkady Volodos play the same piece - He has the *Rachmaninovian Sweep*.
    Last edited by Corno Dolce; Oct-24-2007 at 01:57.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  5. #5
    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster Rachmaninoff's Avatar
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    Pretty hard piece, we must agree.
    I hope you learn the piece, 'cause it's really beautiful.
    And let your feelings flow when playing it.

  6. #6
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    Good luck on the concerto
    A bit of advice:

    -listen to every available recording so that you can sing the piano and orchestra at any given time
    -take it slowly,page by page
    -use the metronome at all times

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    Rachmaninov was still friends with Horowitz even though...

    Quote Originally Posted by Corno Dolce View Post
    Hello Anders,

    It is doubtful that there is a video of Sgouros playing *Rach's 3rd*. Try YouTube and see if you can come up with something.

    Cheers,

    Corno Dolce

    Alert: Here he is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNB98D8H3Wo

    Wow - he had matured since I heard him at Carnegie Hall.

    In the Ossia Cadenza he used during this Melbourne Concert, his playing of the chords are not the way the composer had written them. Get your Rach 3rd score out, look and read very carefully the way Rachmaninoff notates the chords and the rhythms. Here are not so much wrong notes, these are rhythms which go contrary to the score and are not musicologically informed. Listen to a recording conducted by Andre Previn and played by Vladimir Ashkenazy - there you will hear a musicologically informed interpretation. As a contrast, listen to Arkady Volodos play the same piece - He has the *Rachmaninovian Sweep*.
    Horowitz, with his own cadenza and numerous various touch-ups here and there of the entire piano score had played it in the presence of the Master himself. Rachmaninov, after hearing Horowitz's redition said, "I will never play the 3rd again. It belongs only within the hands of Horowitz."

    This young pianist Sgouros does show GREAT promise. I am certain that his technique will not always blind him to the inner soul and PREMISE of Rachmananov which Horowitz knew intimately.

    I guarantee when Sgouros finally sees and understands the spectra lurking within the shadows of the notes, HE WILL RECORD the RACHMANINOV III AGAIN! FACT!

    Respectfully yours kind Sir Corno.

    Eric Solaski
    Last edited by Eric Solaski; Nov-19-2007 at 19:38.

  8. #8
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anders View Post
    I've just finished his cis-minor-prelude and I'd like to start with his second piano concerto. Anyone who have any comments regarding that piece? I don't care if it's overrated, so don't even mention it. =)

    Btw I can reach up to ten whites with both hands, is that enough?
    First I would like to hear it, or I won't know that you are asking.
    judy tooley

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    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Eric Solaski on BIG mouth and Average sized Hands

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders View Post
    I've just finished his cis-minor-prelude and I'd like to start with his second piano concerto. Anyone who have any comments regarding that piece? I don't care if it's overrated, so don't even mention it. =)
    Quote Originally Posted by Anders View Post

    Btw I can reach up to ten whites with both hands, is that enough?


    It would be nice if you could play legato octaves with your #1 thumb and #2 finger, #1 and #3, #2 and #5... like Rubinstein, Horowitz, and Rocky could!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anders View Post
    I've just finished his cis-minor-prelude and I'd like to start with his second piano concerto. Anyone who have any comments regarding that piece? I don't care if it's overrated, so don't even mention it. =)

    Btw I can reach up to ten whites with both hands, is that enough?
    First of all, what a beautiful choice! Rachmaninoff's 2nd concerto is absolutely wonderful at all levels.
    That said, I would like to share my own experience with you - and then you might have a better idea of the kind of "studying" you will "fight" with.
    I started studying this concerto on April 05, 2007 and finished it on September 22, 2007 -- all memorized (so that the actual work could really begin!) and played at about 1/2 the actual performance speed.
    To get to that point, I studied an average of 6 1/2 hours a day, with not one day off.
    I divided the concerto in actually 90 parts, each representing a different study. Useless to say, fingering is critical as during the learning process it is fairly easy to misjudge the finger that will actually allows you the actual speed.
    Now, am I a pianist? Well, I studied between the age of 7 thg 12, then did not touch a piano until the age of 36. I played 1 year and then stopped until today - 55 years old today... What do you really need to play this concerto if you are not a virtuose are, in my very modest opinion, the followings:
    1- Will power
    2- Perseverance
    3- Hard work - NEVER allowing yourself to get off the metronome for the parts which really require one.
    4- Avoid the pedal at all cost while studying, as this concerto is not as much about technic as it is about interpretation.
    5- Attempt to memorize as soon as possible -- the only way to really get into the hard work.
    6 - Work, work, work...
    This concertao has always been my favorite piece so that while studying I was also realizing a dream... Go after your dream...
    Of course, all of the above applied to me; not necessarily to you.
    Good luck and let us know your progress

  11. #11
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    Hi all,

    I know this is an old post but i've been looking for help with the Rach2 and could hardly find any until now. So i hope someone will reply to this.

    I am just starting with the Rach2 and have done the first 3 pages (out of the 91 pages of the whole piece). Neither my teacher nor me could agree on a fingering of the first part of the piece. I'm talking here about when the measure when the orchestra starts. I do the main bass (c) with my #5 finger and the next 3 notes with #5, #3, #1 (all left hand of course). With this fingering there is a jump between the main bass and the rest (which sounds pretty nice when done seamlessly). My teacher does the main bass with #5 and the next 3 notes with #1, #3, #1 (this is also nice but the character of the sound is different). Both my teacher and i are doing this piece for the first time and so we're not sure what people usually do.

    Can anybody tell me what is the usual fingering for the start to Rach2 mov1?

    Thanks,

    Pedro

  12. #12
    Ensign, Principal Kuhlau's Avatar
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    My only comment is this: hear Stephen Hough play this work (his Hyperion recording with Andrew Litton conducting the Dallas Symphony Orchestra). Unlike so many pianists - and indeed, conductors - Hough doesn't over-sentimentalise this work and turn it into little more than Hollywood mush.

    I'm not a musician, but if I was, this is the way I'd aim to play this work.

    FK
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    Hi, I am new to this forum, but I too would like some advice. First of all, I am NOT attemping the whole concerto! That would be foolish of me because I know my limits and I simply do no have the amount of time necessary to dedicate. The section I am learning is just after the russian march, towards the end of the first movement. It's the beautiful melody that we all know and love. I've tried his Prelude in G minor and I stopped playing just before the lyrical melody. The chords were REALLY taking their tole on me. That piece requires some giant leaps, and the chordal formations are quite complex.

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    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    hello Rachmaninoff2010 and welcome to the forum
    I trust you will enjoy your time here

    teddy

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    I prefer the 3rd.

    Martin

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