A rare recording of Sergei Rachmaninoff playing his composition – for his 150th birth anniversary

Player pianos preserved the performance of many prominent pianists of the turn of the 19th – 20th centuries, while the recording on phonograph was rater imperfect. After moving to the USA, Sergei Rachmaninoff was actively recording his performances on paper music rolls “Duo-Art” and “Ampico”. During the period from 1919 to the 1930, many performances of Rachmaninoff were recorded. Subsequently, they were re-recorded from the rolls to records.

For the 150th birth jubilee we prepared a rare recording of Sergei Rachmaninoff, playing the piano; it was recorded from Duo-Art paper music roll on the Reproducing grand piano "Steinway Duo-Art", USA (1926).

Unlike recordings on phonograph and gramophone records, paper music rolls allow us to enjoy virtuoso performance, matching as closely as possible to a live performance by the pianist of the work that he composed -- authentic, without side-tones and noises.

Prelude Cis-moll (C Sharp Minor Op. 3 No. 2) written by Rachmaninoff became one of the composer's early most known piano compositions. It brought recognition to the author abroad (for the first time the foreign audience was acquainted with the Cis-moll Prelude thanks to Alexander Siloti, while he was touring with his concert performances in England and Germany at the end of 1893). The prelude is remarkable for its monumental sound, the piano sounds similar with the entire orchestra or a high-power organ. Within the limits of a brief piano playing, the composer presents dramatic picture to the listener, the main content of which is a man and his fate ...

Biography of Sergei Rachmaninov is in the section Authors.