Sergei Rachmaninoff Essay

1082 words - 5 pages

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Romantic Russian composer who lived from 1873 to 1943. He experienced many tragedies in his life and suffered with melancholia for many years, but as a musician he has written some of the most powerful pieces of the Romantic period and is known as one of the most legendary pianists of all time. Rachmaninoff was also one of the most focused and hard-working composers, and because of his disciplined ways he was able to travel and perform all over Europe and America in his lifetime, becoming very famous, though he was always doubtful of himself and his abilities. But how did he come to recognize his musical talent? What is his music like that it is so famous? Who influenced him and who in turn did he influence?
Sergei was born in Oneg, Russia, to an aristocratic family who was falling apart. His father was a gambler and a drinker and spent all of their family’s wealth on his addictions. Their family, which consisted of Sergei’s mother and five other siblings, were forced to move from their mansion to a small apartment in the city of Petersburg. But they moved just at the wrong time, for a sickness was spreading. Sergei’s sister Sophia died from the illness. Guilt heavy on his father’s shoulders, he abandoned his family, never to return. Sergei’s mother, Lubov, did her best to raise her children. She was a pianist, as was her father before her, and so she began to teach Sergei at the young age of four. He showed much talent for the piano, but when he was old enough to join school on a scholarship, Sergei began to show his father’s habits. He took up gambling and wasted his money, and his family members, including his cousin Alexander Siloti, were very concerned. Alexander was also a musician, and, to save his young cousin from becoming like his father, he persuaded the excellent music professor, Nikolai Zverev, to accept Sergei as his pupil. Sergei was going to be sent to Moscow, where Zverev lived, at once, though he was terrified of moving so far away from his family. His one consolation was that his older sister, Elena, was going with him, for she had been accepted into the Bolshoi Opera House there. Sergei loved Elena, for she encouraged him on the piano and had introduced to him to his most favorite composer, Tchaikovsky. He was glad she was coming with him. But, just days before their journey, Elena died from pneumonia. This had an enormous affect on Sergei, who then went to Moscow alone. Zverev welcomed his fifth pupil and immediately set to work. Sergei changed overnight from a fun-loving, reckless boy to a disciplined, hard-working musician. After only two years, Sergei was Zverev’s star-student and could easily memorize long pieces of music and play just about any of them with his large hands. A few years later Sergei began going to the Moscow Conservatory, where he met his idol, Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky became like a mentor to him and encouraged him to compose, which Sergei did. After he graduated from the...

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