The 150th anniversary of the birth year of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov is more than enough reason to immerse yourself in his music.
The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of all four of his piano concerti, together with the music of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Glinka in four concerts over 10 days, encourages us during these troubled times to remember the immensity of Russia’s contribution to classical music.
The creation of Rachmaninov’s piano concerti spanned a dramatic period of his life from his student days in Tsarist Russia to later life in the US where he was especially known as a performer. The four are quite different in character, taking the listener on that journey of his musical life. Such is the level of interest that these ASO concerts were sold out early.
Pianist Stephen Hough has a deeply considered appreciation of Rachmaninov and, together with distinguished guest conductor Andrew Litton, he infuses his playing with his insights. Rachmaninov was a virtuoso pianist and in a sense this concert series presents the voice of Rachmaninov the composer and the legacy of Rachmaninov the soloist — the Rachmaninov piano concerti provide the sternest test of any pianist.