We’ve already heard the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, which is one of Rachmaninoff’s enduring later works. By contrast here is another Theme and Variations, this time the Variations on a Theme of Chopin. Rachmaninoff composed this work in 1902, and it is his first large-scale work for solo piano. As such, it isn’t heard very often in performance these days, as it is seen as an awkward and youthful work…but I’ve always liked it rather a lot, especially since I played the very Chopin prelude on which it is based, back in my piano lesson days. The Chopin prelude is heard pretty much intact right at the very beginning of the work, and then Rachmaninoff takes over.
By the way, April may be over, but my celebration of Rachmaninoff isn’t even close to being over!
That Chopin opening is why I LOVE Could It Be Magic by Barry Manilow, who, BTW, is turning the big 8-0 on June 17.