Girish Mahajan

Scherzo in D minor (Rachmaninoff)

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Scherzo in D minor is Sergei Rachmaninoff's earliest surviving composition for orchestra, composed when he was a student at the Moscow Conservatory. It is quite short, taking between four and five minutes to play.

The manuscript is dated 5-21 February 1888, when Rachmaninoff was still only 14. An unknown hand has changed this date to 1887. It is dedicated to his cousin Alexander Siloti, and it was intended to be part of a larger work because it is headed "Third movement".

The model for the work is the Scherzo from Felix Mendelssohn's incidental music for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Rachmaninoff had earlier transcribed Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony for two pianos, and the Scherzo also has echoes of that work.

The piece is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (B♭), 2 bassoons, horn (F), trumpet (B♭), 2 timpani, violins I, violins II, violas, cellos and double basses.

The first performance of both the Scherzo and another early work, Prince Rostislav, took place in Moscow on 2 November 1945, conducted by Nikolai Anosoff. The Scherzo was published in 1947.

References

Scherzo in D minor (Rachmaninoff) Wikipedia


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