Composition: Piano Concerto No. 2
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff
First Premiere (full orchestra): 1901
Description: Rachmaninoff is considered to be one of the finest pianists of all time and his compositions are regarded as some of the greatest in Russian Romanticism. Piano Concerto No. 2 is highly regarded and so is commonly performed in concert halls around the world. This piece has an interesting story as, following the poor reception of his first symphony in 1897, he fell into clinical depression and writer’s block. After seeking treatment he returned to the stage with Piano Concerto No. 2 and dedicated it to the physician who helped him through his recovery. A lot of the emotions he dealt with come to life in the concerto, being incredibly personal, intense, and climatic. The piece is hallmarked by a virtuosic piano performance. I have chosen the North West German Philharmonic’s recording featuring Anna Fedorova here but you can find old recordings of Rachmaninoff himself playing the piano part on YouTube. For writing I see this ideal for letters or writing of a personal nature as well as essays.