Tone Poem Tuesday (Rachmaninoff at 150)

I’ve featured this piece before, and it’s not even by Rachmaninoff. So how does it tie in? Because when it was composed for the film Dangerous Moonlight, a World War II potboiler whose protagonist is a talented pianist and composer, it was as a replacement for the originally planned work: Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto (which will be the major topic of my next Substack newsletter). It’s not entirely clear why the Rachmaninoff couldn’t be used–copyright fees, perhaps–and the producers tried commissioning a work from Rachmaninoff directly, but he turned the offer down. So, in the Concerto’s stead, a new work was composed–in pieces, which are heard through the film. The entire work was basically stitched together by the film’s orchestrators, resulting in the work that is fairly well-known today as a single-movement work: the Warsaw Concerto, by Richard Addinsell.

It’s also one of the best intentional pastiches of a specific composer’s style that I’ve ever heard. Here it is:


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