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Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini 18th Variation

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Uploaded on May 21, 2008

visit my webpage - The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Russian: Рапсодия на тему Паганини, Rapsodiya na temu Paganini) in A minor, opus 43, is a concertante work (20 to 25 minutes in length), written by Sergei Rachmaninoff. It is written for solo piano and symphony orchestra, closely resembling a piano concerto. The work was written at Villa Senar, according to the score, from July 3 to August 18, 1934. Rachmaninoff himself, a noted interpreter of his own works, played the solo piano part at the piece's premiere at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, Maryland on November 7, 1934 with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski.

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The piece is a set of 24 variations on the twenty-fourth and last of Niccolò Paganini's Caprices for solo violin, which has inspired works by several composers.

The slow eighteenth variation is by far the most well-known, and it is often included on classical music compilations without the rest of the work. It is based on an inversion of the melody of Paganini's theme. In other words, the A minor Paganini theme is played "upside down" in D flat major. Rachmaninoff himself recognized the appeal of this variation, saying "This one, is for my agent." This variation has been featured in several movies, including

1953 The Story of Three Loves
1954 Rhapsody
1980 Somewhere in Time
1991 Dead Again
1995 Sabrina
1998 Ronin

In collaboration with Rachmaninoff, the choreographer Michel Fokine created the ballet Paganini using Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini as the score. It was premiered in 1939 by The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

Sergei Rachmaninoff Philadelphia Orchestra Leopold Stokowski 1934 (world premiere recording).
William Kapell Robin Hood Dell Orchestra Fritz Reiner 1951.
Arthur Rubinstein Chicago Symphony Orchestra Fritz Reiner
Lang Lang Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra Valery Gergiev
Vladimir Ashkenazy 1972.


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