This project is making a recording of the two Sonatas by Sergei Rachmaninoff and three of his transcriptions: Polka de WR, Lullaby (Tchaikovsky) and Liebesleid (Kreisler). These works are amongst the 20th century's greatest compositions and yet, they are still quite underrated and often misundestood.
The 1st Sonata op. 28 is really a symphony for the piano. It lasts between 38 and 40 minutes. This is also easily the most polyphonic work by Rachmaninoff or any other romantic composer. There's a good reason for it. It was inspired by the great work of literature, Goethe’s tragedy “Faust”, so it is a deeply philosophical work, which deals with questions of life, death, temptation, compromise and the power of faith and love. Like Wagner in his operas, Rachmaninoff allocates each character - Faust, Gretchen and Mephistopheles - a motif (leitmotif), and sometimes more than one. It's a real masterpiece and a work of great beauty. Because of its symphonic writing and scale, it's also the most technically, mentally and emotionally challenging work I have ever played - Beethoven's sonatas included!
The 2nd sonata op. 36 is an incredible achievement in terms of compositional technique, as it is created out of just one short motif – there's hardly a bar in the whole sonata that is not permeated by this theme in one form or another. Amazingly, it manages to remain such a beautiful and powerful piece. Rachmaninoff left two versions of it - he felt the original version was too long and he later revised it. While in principle agreeing with him, I can't help feeling that in his quest for streamlining the form he also mercilessly cut out some of the extremely beautiful passages, so I will record my own version, mixing the material from the two.
Polka de WR and Liebesleid are amongst the gems of musical wit and a testament to Rachmaninoff's incredible sense of humour - so much for all the rumours of his "cold" personality... Lullaby is an arrangement of the hauntigly beautiful, melancholy song by Tchaikovsky.
I am really excited about recording these masterpieces and believe that I can add something valuable to the existing interpretations of these works. The funds raised by this campaign will go towards hiring the recording venue and the piano, paying the recording engineer, producer and piano technician, for the accommodation for me and the recording engineer during the 3 days of recording sessions, for editing, CD cover design, printing of the CDs, etc. The cost of marketing is difficult to estimate, so I have not included it in my calculations. If the target amount is not reached, all the pledges will be returned to the supporters.
Your invaluable support will help me tremendously to make it happen. In addition to my gratitude, I am offering various rewards, which are listed on this page. Thank you!