Rachmaninoff's Tempo Analysis

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The tempo for the introduction of the first theme, Rachmaninoff indicates minim=66. However, in his two recordings in 1924 and 1929 he performed at minim=47-51 for the introduction and minim=80 (1924) and 81 (1929) for the first theme. The introduction is much slower and the first theme is much faster, and the latter definitely does not go back to the initial tempo. The tempo that Sviatoslav Richter chooses to perform in 1959 is much slower in general, which is at minim=48 for the introduction and minim=61 for the first theme. However this slow performance enhances his playing by allowing the audience to hear the depth and cultivation of his notes along with the magnificent depth of the orchestra's accompaniment (Bowen, 1996). Rachmaninoff’s …show more content…
Some of the pianists, for instance, Van Cliburn (1962), Lang Lang (2004) and Rachmaninoff (1924) play these big chords tidily and without a break. However, each of the chords for the left hand is spaced so widely that a small hand can hardly reach the notes without a break. Thus, one of the possible suggestions is to skip some notes to arpeggio the chords as Vladmir Ashkenazy played in his 1985 recording. However, a more efficient solution is suggested by Slenczynska (Chung, 1988, …show more content…
Bars 113-132
The second theme of the development has a variation between bars 113-120 (Figure 6). The melody of the variation is in octaves, and it has the inner voice in the right hand part of the piano. When Rachmaninoff established a solid big phrase, and the tempo was not too fast, he would still play all the details clearly, just as he performed bars 109 to 112 from the first movement of his Piano Concerto No.2. From bars 121-124 and 126-130, the extended measures after the variation canonically repeat at the octave (played by oboe and clarinet) while the piano continues the canon (Chung, 1988).
Cliburn's emphasis is on letting the melodies sing, and he does so admirably, with an unforced, golden tone that hearkens back to the early 20th century heyday of great pianism (Nancy, 1994). Even in rapid figuration, the pianist's focus is on vocalization, balancing each phrase and weighing the rise and fall of notes much as a singer would. He also does a great job of highlighting and colouring inner voices - the solo entry at the beginning of the finale is a prime example - so that we hear multiple singers from the keyboard instead of only one (Yungkans,

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