Tone Poem Tuesday

I know I’ve been doing “autumnal” music this year instead of “spooky” or “scary” music, but this one really does fall into both categories, and it’s one that I post every year this month anyway, so here we are: that wonderfully brooding The Isle of the Dead, by Sergei Rachmaninoff. This piece is so wonderfully magical in Rachmaninoff’s downbeat way, starting from the very opening when the 5-4 time feels like the oars rising and falling awkwardly. Then the rocking of the waves starts…and the work’s real drama and emotion kick in, leavened with Rachmaninoff’s trademark lyricism and the way he can make musical passages yearn and yearn and yearn before they finally reach a kind of resolution, not unlike the mustering of the sea before the waves break upon the cold sand.

I love this piece. Here is The Isle of the Dead by Rachmaninoff.


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