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Rachmaninov Prelude opus 3 no. 2 in C-sharp minor

Rachmaninov the "IT" Prelude

This work was one of the first the 19‑year‑old Rachmaninoff composed after he graduated from the Moscow Conservatory on 29 May 1892. He performed this new work for the first time at one of the concerts of the Moscow Electrical Exhibition on 26 September 1892. It was printed the following year as the second of five Morceaux de fantaisie (Op. 3), all dedicated to Anton Arensky, his harmony teacher at the Conservatory. The prelude became one of Rachmaninoff’s most famous compositions. His cousin Alexander Siloti was instrumental in securing the Prelude’s success throughout the Western world. In the autumn of 1898, he made a tour of Western Europe and the United States, with a program that contained the Prelude. Soon after, London publishers brought out several editions with titles such as The Burning of Moscow, The Day of Judgement, and The Moscow Waltz. America followed suit with other titles (such as The Bells of Moscow). It was so popular that it was referred to as “The Prelude” and audiences would demand it as an encore at his performances, shouting “Play It”. Because of this, Rachmaninoff grew very tired of it and once said, “Many, many times I wish I had never written it.”

Sergei Rachmaninov

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