Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Suite No. 1 (Rachmaninoff)

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Suite No. 1 (or Fantaisie-Tableaux for two pianos), Op. 5, is a composition for two pianos by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Composed in the summer of 1893 at the Lysikofs estate in Lebeden, Kharkov, this suite was initially titled Fantaisie (Tableaux) since Rachmaninoff intended it, as he explained in a letter to his cousin Sofia Satin, to consist "of a series of musical pictures." While François-Rene Tranchefort asserts that the music illustrates four extracts of poems (written by Mikhail Lermontov, Lord Byron, Fyodor Tyutchev and Aleksey Khomyakov), Rachmaninoff biographer Max Harrison counters that while the poems "convey something of the emotional tone of the music," the music itself is not programmatic.

This work was first performed on November 30, 1893, by Rachmaninoff and Pavel Pabst in Moscow, and is dedicated to Tchaikovsky. Rachmaninoff composed a second suite in 1901.

The four movements are:

I. Barcarolle. Allegretto, in G minor.
II. La nuit... L'amour... Adagio sostenuto, in D major. (The night...the love...)
III. Les Larmes. Largo di molto, in G minor. (The Tears)
IV. Pâques. Allegro maestoso, in G minor. (Easter)

Perhaps surprisingly, given that Rachmaninoff wrote orchestral and two-piano versions of his Symphonic Dances, which is effectively a three-movement symphony, no one has orchestrated this Suite as a possible symphony.

References

Suite No. 1 (Rachmaninoff) Wikipedia


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