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Sergei Rachmaninoff: A Lifetime in Music (Russian Music Studies) Paperback – 1 Jan 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (1 Jan. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253214211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253214218
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Sergei Bertensson, who knew Rachmaninoff, published works on music and film, often with a documentary emphasis. Jay Leyda wrote extensively on Russian Music and film, as well as on American literature. David Butler Cannata is Professor of Music History at Esther Boyer College of Music, Temple University.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by far the best biography of the composer I have ever come across. Re-issued some 50 years after its initial publication, this is the account that all subsequent biographies seem to refer back to for facts about his life. Written by people who actually knew Rachmaninov, including co-operation from his sister-in-law Sophia Satina, this is an intimate and fascinating account of the composer's life - much of the book includes private letters to and from the composer to close friends and family, and thus reveals many interesting anecdotes about the composer's thoughts of his own work as well as giving an insight into his personality.
Despite being one of the finest pianists of his generation and revered as a composer by the mass public (if not all the critics), Rachmaninov was riddled with insecurity for much of his life, going back to the failure of his First Symphony.
This book reveals all the turbulent events in his life, from the uprising in Russia, to his eventual departure for good in 1917, when the composer lived in Western Europe and America for the rest of his life. Forced to become a concert pianist to fund his lifestyle in the west, Rachmaninov's composition suffered considerably for the latter part of his life, but for those who were lucky enought to have heard him play, he went on to become one of the finest pianists that ever lived.

This is more of a general biography of the composer's life than an academic analysis of his music (more recent biographies by Harrison and Martyn cover this area in more detail), but it remains a fascinating, accessible and enjoyable account of the private life of this remarkable man.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book, I guess mostly that's because Rachmaninov's life is really interesting but it is written in a highly readable way, and includes quite a few letters and some photographs. I've bought the paperback version, and I must say that the photographs are not as good quality as the hardback version (I once read the hardback version in a library so I can compare the two), but I guess that's to be expected and it's still quite nice to have them. I would definitely recommend this if you want a biography on Rachmaninov. I've recently had to write some programme notes on Rachmaninov's songs and found the book really useful for that.
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Format: Paperback
A lovely biography because it gives you a real feeling for Rachmaninoff the man, much of it derived from letters from and to him. He was shy but great company with those he knew and was comfortable with. What I hadn't realised was how good a conductor he was, as well as being - according to the recent BBC Music article - rated as the greatest pianist of the C20 by his fellow pianists. There is not a deep analysis of his music, but a lot of good stories about their composition and the first performances. An excellent corrective to the Stravinsky "6ft scowl" comment. Thoroughly recommended for anyone interested in a great musician - and human being.
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