Music as Poetry

Have you ever listened to “Rach 3?”  If you prefer not to listen to the entire thing, please at least listen to the opening melody. It runs throughout the piece in several variations. It also runs through my soul.

I am learning so much about the different interpretations of this piano piece as I listen to different recordings.   The haunting melody that runs through it is thought perhaps to be something that Sergei Rachmaninoff derived “from an ancient chant of the Russian Orthodox church, sung in the Monastery of the Cross, near Kiev.” I would love to know if anyone has tracked this down, and if so, how are the lyrics translated? “The composer denied the influence.” Perhaps I will make up my own worship lyrics to the melody!

I was blessed to get to hear a live performance recently at the CSO. This piece has the reputation of being the most difficult in standard piano repertoire.   My husband made a gallant effort to attend about 48 hours after his pacemaker surgery, though this form of entertainment is not his favorite. He knew I would be pleased. When the first movement began my grin split my face ear to ear! So exciting to see and hear this extremely difficult piece played live and in person for the very first time!

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Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra with Kirill Gerstein at the piano, January 5, 2019

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