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Has anyone else ever struggled to appreciate a certain composer's work(s)?

I am fully aware of his contributions to classical music and how beloved his music is by so many. That would be the reason for the thread. I can appreciate the advanced technicality in his works but other than that I don't know what I'm missing. This is coming from listening to a few preludes and concertos.

I took piano pretty extensively when I was younger and always avoided Rachmoninoff. I stopped for a few years and am trying to re-teach myself and work on weaknesses, one of which is technicality. I am just kind of playing for fun but I would really like to improve. I am already doing exercises for technical work, really looking to find a way to like/love Rachmoninoff or similar composers.

I'm also curious is anyone else has ever dealt with anything like this?

P.S. I hope whoever reading this doesn't take this as a sign of disrespect, as that isn't my intention.
 

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To answer the first question, of course. Rachmaninoff isn't one of them though.

I haven't a clue what your connection problem is with Rachmaninoff's piano music so likely won't be of help... Have you listened to the Etudes Tableaux? There's a fair amount of difference among them, effect-wise anyway.
 

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Has anyone else ever struggled to appreciate a certain composer's work(s)?

I am fully aware of his contributions to classical music and how beloved his music is by so many. That would be the reason for the thread. I can appreciate the advanced technicality in his works but other than that I don't know what I'm missing. This is coming from listening to a few preludes and concertos.

I took piano pretty extensively when I was younger and always avoided Rachmoninoff. I stopped for a few years and am trying to re-teach myself and work on weaknesses, one of which is technicality. I am just kind of playing for fun but I would really like to improve. I am already doing exercises for technical work, really looking to find a way to like/love Rachmoninoff or similar composers.

I'm also curious is anyone else has ever dealt with anything like this?

P.S. I hope whoever reading this doesn't take this as a sign of disrespect, as that isn't my intention.
He hasnt really contributed with anything special. It's OK. I don't like him either. But I like almost everyone else, so it isnt a problem for me. I wont have time to listen to all the music i want in a lifetime anyways.
 

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I avoided Rachmaninoff for decades, because I thought his music was excessively sappy and sweet. I finally yielded to the Piano Concertos and, more recently, to his symphonic works.

Tchaikovsky is another that I 'disliked', because I felt his music was too sweet and pretty.

I think I've gotten over that and I now listen to them both.
 

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As a pianist I always avoided Rachmaninoff's music for the simple reason I could never play any of it! To say he hasn't contributed anything special is a bit thick when his concertos are some of the most loved of all classical music. To me they are VERY special. They just have this confounded problem of being popular which I know deters some people.
 

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brotagonist;798496[B said:
]I avoided Rachmaninoff for decades, because I thought his music was excessively sappy and sweet. I finally yielded to the Piano Concertos and, more recently, to his symphonic works.

Tchaikovsky is another that I 'disliked', because I felt his music was too sweet and pretty.
[/B]
I think I've gotten over that and I now listen to them both.
That is what most people say.

I don't often listen to the russian romantics, but i can enjoy Korsakov, Tchaikovsky now and then. I actually liked rach in the beginning, but not anymore. His solo piano is just awful. I cant stand it. When it comes to the piano concertos, its just too much unclear sound. I dont know. I just dont like the way he writes music.
 

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As a pianist I always avoided Rachmaninoff's music for the simple reason I could never play any of it! To say he hasn't contributed anything special is a bit thick when his concertos are some of the most loved of all classical music. To me they are VERY special. They just have this confounded problem of being popular which I know deters some people.
Okay, mr thick. I ment that he hasnt contributed with anything that has made any impact on later composers. Like, he hasnt written anything remotely new. Sure people love his concertos, i dont mind. Whatever makes people happy.
 

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I studied piano from six straight through conservatory and then commenced a career as a decent journeyman professional pianist.

I've never cared for Rachmaninov, at any age, listening or later when it might have been within my grasp. Where I can be quite happy with the earlier actual romantic era of Chopin, even that more fun to play than to listen, I think... and Schubert and some Schumann. Similarly, I just do not care for Tchaikovsky.

I later did a second full drill in theory and comp.

I have always recognized Rachmanov as a terrific composer, both as keyboard as well as an orchestral composer, where his orchestration is also outstanding. His contrapuntal strengths also make his music very solid and not at all 'dull'

Yet -- I've never been able to 'get into it.' From that late late into modernism era, Prokofiev is about as romantic as I get, and that is indeed, still deeply threaded with romantic / late romantic traits.

That said, as a student and later a professional if you must, or have committed to a piece or composer's music you don't care for at all, you have to 'bond with it,' and at least temporarily actually love it, and then communicate that and only that to the audience -- who have a right to hear a performance which in no way cues them in to the fact the musician(s) are bored with the piece, don't care for it, or even hate it. (Some actually think that concert pianists play only what they like and love. No, No, No:)

That way of getting in to it might be harder to come up with if you are working on your own and for your personal pleasure (of course developing a greater technique is its own reward and another sort of pleasure), but 'getting up close and personal' with it is what you must do if you choose to select any of his pieces to work on. (I have yet to have such an experience change my mind via working on, performing a particular piece I did not much care for, but I'm sure there are many occasions where that could readily happen.)

As far as technique to be gained, however, there is almost always a near direct parallel. Rachmaninov::prokofiev. Liszt::Ravel, so even if you choose not to play Rachmaninov, there is another composer and piece which will give you if not a near identical twin workout, something which has damn near to the exact same bundle of technical challenges.

Best of luck with it, and don't bite of something too technically demanding to start. You may need to back up under your previous level, find new pieces there as well as the ones you used to play, and then just as it was in lessons, move forward in a reasonable well-paced pedagogical progression.
 

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His best works are vocal. Well maybe not but they are what I like the most and they are definitely obscured by his piano works. He has three short gems of operas that are definitely under-appreciated and his Vespers are very beautiful.
 

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Ok. I apologize DavidA. You delivered me that o beautiful word, thought i could repay you with the same, but i agree it was a bit too excessive.
Sorry I got uppity friend. We may have a bit of a language problem. "It's a bit thick" in the English idiom means "it's a bit too much" [to say that]. Sorry for any misunderstanding.
 

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Rachmaninoff: To say he hasn't contributed anything special is a bit thick when his concertos are some of the most loved of all classical music. They just have this confounded problem of being popular which I know deters some people.
What I highlighted in bold is as reductive, simplistic and it is the flip side of that coin of snobbery which the 'more musically conservative' usually attribute to the hard-core modernists.

Rachmninov's contribution is the music he composed.

As far as a contribution to the further development of the vocabulary of music, or its form, in that way others have 'pushed the envelope,' there is no other real contribution ~ just brilliantly crafted music in a retro-conservative style, with a hair more of modernism in its vocabulary many do not hear, while that still does not make him a stand-out in the overall perspective of modern / contemporary music. That he was of his time can be seen and more than just faintly heard in the works, but he did not really take anything about music -- or piano technique -- "further." There are many good and 'called great' composers who did no more in that regard than Rachmaninov did.

But this "confounded problem of a composer being popular" as any kind of worthwhile comment is, I think, piffle.
 

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I've had the same problem with Rachmaninov's solo piano works. I do really like his Piano Concertos, and his 3rd Symphony, Isle of the Dead and Symphonic Dances. Eventually I'll give those piano works another shot.
 

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I agree with PetrB.

Moreover, I don't find Rachmaninov that popular. Amongst his concerti, only 2 are very well known from what I gather. Even then, only the 2nd movement of the 2nd concerto is truly remembered and recognised by people in general. Two or three preludes at most manage to enter a top 100 of classical works for piano. Of course this is not the case within this community or in Conservatoires but at large, he remains rather "uncorrupted" by popularity.
Whether or not he revolutionised the way we hear/write/perceive music, his music is rich. The chords are powerful, heavy and have immensely helped me improve my piano technique. I find his works cello wonderful too.

In the end it is all a matter of taste, of habits and of instruments. I'll grant you though that starting off with Rachmaninov isn't the easiest thing to do.
 

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I agree with PetrB.

Moreover, I don't find Rachmaninov that popular. Amongst his concerti, only 2 are very well known from what I gather. Even then, only the 2nd movement of the 2nd concerto is truly remembered and recognised by people in general. Two or three preludes at most manage to enter a top 100 of classical works for piano. Of course this is not the case within this community or in Conservatoires but at large, he remains rather "uncorrupted" by popularity.
Whether or not he revolutionised the way we hear/write/perceive music, his music is rich. The chords are powerful, heavy and have immensely helped me improve my piano technique. I find his works cello wonderful too.

In the end it is all a matter of taste, of habits and of instruments. I'll grant you though that starting off with Rachmaninov isn't the easiest thing to do.
Remarkable. To dismiss Rachmaninov in such an offhand manner. It would seem that you have not heard or are unaware of the Third Piano Concerto, One of the most popular and best in the genre. You also dismiss the two outer movements of the Second Concerto, inexplicable. You give no hint as to where your musical tastes lie but obviously Rachmaninov does not fall within it. The Symphonies are also hugely successful, musically and commercially.
If you genuinely do not like Rachmaninov that is indeed your right and what this forum is all about.
 

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I agree with PetrB.

Moreover, I don't find Rachmaninov that popular. Amongst his concerti, only 2 are very well known from what I gather. Even then, only the 2nd movement of the 2nd concerto is truly remembered and recognised by people in general. Two or three preludes at most manage to enter a top 100 of classical works for piano..
2-3 preludes and presumably his 2nd and 3rd piano concertos in a top 100 of classical works means he's not that popular? He's taking ~5% of the top 100!

I think a big problem with Rachmaninoff's popularity is the difficulty of his pieces. The notes are usually pretty hard to get your fingers around and then to bring out the rich melodies in amongst all that is going on is very very difficult and many pianists play Rachmaninoff's pieces badly, often times completely ignoring melodies in the piece!

If you listen to skillful pianists playing Rachmaninoff and still don't 'get it' though, then maybe he's just not for you. Not every composer is for everyone. e.g. I can take or leave most of Mozart's music, though I understand it is of a phenomenally high standard, his music just doesn't speak to me like the music of, for example, Chopin.
 

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Remarkable. To dismiss Rachmaninov in such an offhand manner. It would seem that you have not heard or are unaware of the Third Piano Concerto, One of the most popular and best in the genre. You also dismiss the two outer movements of the Second Concerto, inexplicable. You give no hint as to where your musical tastes lie but obviously Rachmaninov does not fall within it. The Symphonies are also hugely successful, musically and commercially.
If you genuinely do not like Rachmaninov that is indeed your right and what this forum is all about.
My apologies if I gave you this impression. I am a huge fan of Rachmaninov and have most of his works on CD. Listened to all his operas, have all his symphonies, preludes, choral works, have all 4 concerti. I personally adore all of the latter. I recently purchased his complete catalogue of songs and it's a delight to listen to them when I'm studying. My favourite piano work is Prelude in B minor...
I think the issue is that I am in an environment where practically no one around me is fond of classical music (hence why I signed up on this forum in the first place). So in a sense, I was talking about people in general who know only basic things, or "mainstream" things. When asking around about Rachmaninov, the responses I got were the ones I mentioned above. Naturally it would appear that my entourage is not the most appropriate one.. especially when it comes to figuring out what is "popular". Perhaps my post was too short, caricatural and I should have elaborated more.
I hope that's cleared up a few things... Once again apologies for not specifying all this earlier.
 

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I find rachmaninov's music to be very stimulating , expressive and passionate, even though certain things he does are not to my taste. He's pretty much the epitome of a 'repertory' composer who isn't really talked about in academia that much, which I supppose means his music at the very least is not dry.
 

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Rachmaninoff's character pieces (preludes, etudes, etc.) have character. Nearly every one has a unique essence or personality. I'm especially fond of the etudes tableaux. One thing I really admire about Rachmaninoff is that, having claimed that all of his little piano works were inspired by poems or stories or paintings, with a few exceptions, he never revealed the sources. The exceptions were the five etudes tableaux about which Respighi requested background information before beginning their orchestration. Rachmaninoff graciously provided extramusical sources for all of them, despite his obvious inclination to take such information to the grave with him.

By the way, Rachmaninoff quite consciously transliterated his name as you see here for his professional career in the west. I see no reason to correct his choice.
 
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