Talk:Sergei Rachmaninoff

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  1. 2004–October 2007

Music samples and fair use[edit]

We need some critical comment on the particular performances featured in the sound clips otherwise a claim of fair use is not justified. See WP:Fair use#Audio clips:

Brief song clips may be used for identification of a musical style, group, or iconic piece of music when accompanied by critical or historical commentary and when attributed to the copyright holder.

Right now there's no critical or historical commentary. Also, there's no copyright attribution. Ideally, we would have multiple performances of the same music and a critical comparison of them.

Grover cleveland 07:09, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Cannot comment on all, only some: Liszt recording 1919, no copyright of the work by Liszt. Other rights would lie with Edison (their legal successors). However, I once read that producer's rights expire after something like 95 years which would be soon, 2014. Unless someone can prove that they are indeed the legal successors of Edison within the next two years, the whole thing has entered public domain.

Chopin Waltz: No company mentioned. Chopin is public domain. 1921 recording rights would expire 2016.
The first, original Prélude was not copyrighted, and is public domain. No copyright in Russia then. Consequently, Rachmaninoff and others founded a publishing house in Berlin and from then on they copyrighted their work there. This does not seem to be the very first Prélude, but without pruduction details no comment can be made, with the exception that Rachmaninoff's copyrights would expire in most jurisdictions 2018. Before using this information, it should be checked with a copyright specialist as several countries' legislations could be involved in the matter. Ally Hauptmann-Gurski 144.136.192.32 (talk) 06:04, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Trivia[edit]

  • In the 2009-2010 school year, Decatur Central's Marching Band had a show, based around Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony no. 2. The show was entitled "Escape".
  • Rachmaninoff owned two New York Steinways D-274 in his Beverly Hills home on Elm Drive, he also owned a New York D in his New York home, however, in 1933, he chose a Hamburg D for his new home, villa Senar, in Switzerland. [citation needed]
  • According to the son of aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky, Rachmaninoff met Sikorsky in 1923, and after studying his designs, handed him a check for $5,000 (roughly $61,000 in 2007 dollars), saying "I believe in you, I trust you, pay me back when you can, go, start building your airplanes."[citation needed]
  • Rachmaninoff once accompanied the gypsy singer Nadezhda Plevitskaya. Their 1926 recordings of "Powder and Paint" and "The Little Apple" were not released for decades.
  • The tune of "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again," also released by Eric Carmen, is based on the main theme of the adagio, played on solo clarinet, of the third movement of Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony in E Minor.
  • The melody of "Full Moon and Empty Arms", a popular song from 1945, is a theme from the last movement of his Piano Concerto No. 2.
  • Rachmaninoff is an important influence on Matt Bellamy of Muse, as illustrated in songs such as "Space Dementia," "Megalomania,", "Butterflies and Hurricanes." and "Hoodoo".[citation needed]

Rachmaninoff was aware of the appeal of this melody, reportedly saying of it "This one is for my agent."[1]

  • His Piano Concerto No. 2 was also featured in the anime Nodame Cantabile, with the piano solo played by Shinichi Chiaki, and the orchestra conducted by Franz von Stresemann.
  • Movements II and III of his Piano Concerto No. 2 are featured in the film Center Stage.
  • A comparison of the creative trajectories of Rachmaninov and Scriabin has fueled psychoanalytic speculation on the distinction between talent and genius.[2]

Removed until an idea of what to do with it comes forth. I'm integrating the film portrayals and perhaps some mentions, but I don't know what to do with the rest. See Wikipedia:"In popular culture" articles ALTON .ıl 09:25, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

You people are retarded. You have a citation needed flag on the lives of the composers thing

THE CITATION IS IN THE TEXT NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS A GODDAMN FOOTNOTE. IT FUCKING SAYS: SCHONBERG LIVES OF THE GREAT COMPOSERS

87.102.73.123 (talk) 01:59, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Merge with Life of Sergei Rachmaninoff[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the merge request. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Don't move, two editors, including me, have strong opinions against this. ALTON .ıl 21:37, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Dmiat (talk · contribs) proposes a merge with Life of Sergei Rachmaninoff.

  • Oppose, as creator etc. The article is totally different, starting from the lead down, although it is a copy from the existent biography it is also a work in progress. Important figures such as Ludwig van Beethoven have Beethoven's biography and Franz Liszt has a page talking about his later works only. I think these supporting articles greatly add to the depth that you can achieve with this article, because most of the detailed information would be cut on the main page (in the spirit of "summary style"). The "Upbringing" section, for example, is cut to a few sentences mentioning nothing about his dead sisters and the importance of his grandmother. Merging would lose so much of this valuable content. ALTON .ıl 18:33, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, as a pianist who plays Rachmaninoff. He was a really unique figure who experienced so much that could be enough for several full lives. His greatness comes to one's awareness gradually with exposure to his music, his letters, his pianos, and places where he grew up, studied, worked, and died. Two articles give a better scope for showing such a complex and important figure, especially for describing Rachmaninoff from two different prospectives, one for a biography, and one for career, compositions and heritage. He was instrumental in many important cultural and business developments, gave the start-up capital to Igor Sikorsky for aviation industry, funded music school in Paris, funded Michael Chekhov's acting seminars in Europe, then introduced Chekhov to Hollywood, helped the family of Vladimir Nabokov, donated to churches in Paris, New York, and Los Angeles, gave charitable performances in many countries, including at Steinway Halls, and, of course he helped many musicians together with Vladimir Horowitz. Two different articles may eventually provide a more comprehensive coverage of Rachmaninoff as a multifaceted person, his complex life, his concert career, creativity and cultural impact. Steveshelokhonov 20:42, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Rachmaninov or Rachmaninoff?[edit]

Which one is "technically" correct? Why Rachmaninoff on Wikipedia and not Rachmaninov? Fredil 02:41, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Rachmaninoff is the way he used to spell his name himself (and he spent about a half of his life in West). Goudzovski (talk) 09:14, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Rachmaninov redirects to this page. Grover cleveland (talk) 21:38, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
And that settles it as far as we're concerned. However, it's an interesting question to consider. The Russian в is transliterated as "v", but transliterating a word letter for letter from one alphabet to another does not always reflect its proper pronunciation. The pronunciation of в varies. At the end of the last syllable in a word, it's devoiced and is pronounced "f". The spelling that Rachmaninoff preferred reflects this; he had to use a double f, because if he'd used a single f, most people would have seen "-of" and said " -ov" (because the word of is pronounced "ov"), thus defeating the purpose. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:42, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Good answers. Thanks :) Fredil 02:33, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Reminds me of umlaut fetishists who insist on using Händel instead of the spelling he himself used... --Blehfu (talk) 12:52, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
It usually depends on the country where a name was first transliterated from Cyrillic into Latin characters, because that is then copied, logical or not. There is no 'correct' in this. In France they generally prefer the -off ending. In the English speaking world they prefer -ov, in a German environment it is -ow. Same pronounciation. Leaves us with the 'ch' which strictly speaking is German transliteration. To someone who has not heard the name spoken before, the -kh, Rakhmaninov, would be clearer. People who change country and find that their name is often mispronounced or misspelt, actually shrug their shoulders, and let the discrepancies live on. I forgot how the name is spelt on his gravestone. We might assume that the stonemason followed instructions correctly and use that because his widow would have ordered the headstone. 144.136.192.70 (talk) 05:33, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Or we might not. My understanding is that the matter was settled five years ago, as outlined above. Whatever may appear on his gravestone, which by definition was carved after his death, will not outweigh the way he himself spelt his own name in the West while he was alive. That is the ultimate authority. Anything else would be how someone felt he ought to have spelt his name, but so what. All that matters is how he did spell his name. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 06:45, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Photos of Rachmaninoff's signature and his grave:

THD3 (talk) 11:32, 4 March 2013 (UTC)


Perhaps of use...[edit]

this thread discusses it in detail. Lethesl 12:19, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Okay, next question: why does the transliteration given insist that х the cyrillic kha be transliterated "h" instead of the clearly more correct "ch" as in "loch"? Or at least a "kh", which forces the "loch" type of sound (which is very uncommon sound in English, and "loch" may be the only word that has it). It's a Greek "chi" after all, and is transliterated to English "ch" in all the Greek words that have it, too, like "Christ." Granted, this letter is not pronounced as most English "ch", but on the other hand, it's not a totally soft "h" either (I'm not even sure Russian has a voiceless h).

Next question is why the й short I "yot" at the end of "Sergei" gets turned into a "j"? If I am to believe Transliteration of Russian into English, the short i can at least as validly be given a standard British ĭ or y, and considering the Russian pronunciation of the last syllable, which is something like "gay" it should have one or the other. The end j may be "scholarly" but doesn't reproduce anything like English pronounciation of this word.

As with the "off" at the end of his last name, Rachmaninoff's tombstone chooses "Sergei" as the best transliteration, and as this is within some transliteration practice, who are we to argue with the composer himself? SBHarris 23:38, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

"Serge" (pronounced Serj or Serzh) and "Sergei" (pronounced sir-gay) are essentially the same names, except the former is French and the latter is Russian. Some Russian musicians like Koussevitsky who spent a lot of time abroad sometime preferred to adopt the French variant of the name. I have seen both the French and Russian spellings of the name used for Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff, however. My best guess is that "Sergei" is the more accurate of the two, but in countries like France they will probably continue to use "Serge". Sjpavlova (talk) 05:55, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
What matters is common usage, not the preference of Wikipedia editors or how he spelled it himself in the Latin alphabet, or even how people find it spelt on the internet. My observation is that the more common use in English is Rachmaninov; though there may be a difference between US and non-US usage here, in which case it might be better, given his links with France, to use whatever spelling the French use. Deipnosophista (talk) 11:04, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
"Common usage" is difficult to quantify and is also transitory. For example, Deutsche Grammophon used to use the "off" spelling but now use "ov." The fact that Rachmaninoff lived in the United States in his later years, becoming a citizen of that country, signed his name with an "off", and it's written on his gravestone as "off" should have more weight than anything used in France.THD3 (talk) 18:19, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
I think the confusion about the "off" ending and the switch in recent years to "ov" is easily explained. It surprises me that the Russian speakers here have not weighed in on this issue, but then that probably is a result of the effectiveness of the Soviet system in eradicating the last traces of pre-revolutionary Russian. Prior to the Soviet era, Russian names ending in the "off" sound were spelled with an additional silent final letter called the "tvordi znak" or "hard sign" written "ъ"- thus Rachmaninoff's name was spelled during his time in Russia Рахманиновъ - using the "въ" combination which was rendered in the west as "ff" After the revolution, the "ъ" or tvordi znak was almost entirely dropped from the language however the pronunciation of these names did not change. Since the two letter combination was used in Russian to produce the correct "f" sound, I think it's a rather silly PC conformity to use "v" instead of "ff" these days since it guarantees a certain percentage of people will mispronounce it - not to mention the fact that Rachmaninoff and countless contemporaries of his signed their names with "ff" their entire lives. Gillartsny (talk) 15:25, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

(Ъ - твёрдый знак - 'tviordyy znak' or 'tvyordyy znak'.) In modern transcription, of cause, Рахманинов in English is Rakhmaninov. Why not specify both variants? 93.80.131.120 (talk) 17:04, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

a question[edit]

why does the brass sound so off on the recording of piano concerto number 2? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.5.7.130 (talk) 04:44, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Many things are off. However, we are fortunate that we have any recording of the piece since it is a huge endeavor, and if I was ever able to play it I would surely not license it as freely as Wikipedia requires. ALTON .ıl 05:18, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Sarcoma. or melanoma?[edit]

The article lists Rachmaninoff's cause of death as sarcoma? What are the references for this? I had read and heard previously that he died of melanoma. Thanks. Jonyungk (talk) 03:52, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Interesting. I read that he died of lung cancer. ? —  $PЯINGεrαgђ  04:14 12 April, 2008 (UTC) I will search around next time I'm online to try and figure out
Tough one. None of my books gives the exact cause, including either edition of Grove. Sources on the internet are rather mixed. Does anyone have the biographies by Bertensson/Leyda, Norris, or Martyn? (there's lots of others on the bibliography list in Grove, but those are the ones in English). Antandrus (talk) 04:27, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Harrison says:

...further tests established that Rachmaninoff's illness was terminal. He had an uncommon form of cancer called melanoma, which had spread...

If that isn't sufficient, I'll consult BL and Norris tomorrow. And that whole part needs a massage, anyways. The doctors never told him, so it isn't right to say he was diagnosed with; it implies he knew. ALTON .ıl 08:12, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I think Harrison is sufficient. Probably the only reason it's not in the Grove bibliography is that it was written before Harrison. Thanks for finding that, Antandrus (talk) 14:20, 12 April 2008 (UTC)


double-jointed?[edit]

According to this BBC article [1], "Rachmaninov was thought to be double jointed". Does anyone have any other sources that back that claim (or specifically mention experts' theories, even if not 100% proven)? If so, it would be an interesting piece of info to add. DuckMaestro —Preceding undated comment was added at 11:19, 22 September 2008 (UTC).

Composer project review[edit]

This article has been reviewed as part of the Composers project review of B-class articles. My review is on the comment page. If you have questions or comments, feel free to respond there, here, or on my talk page. I think this article qualifies for A-class. Magic♪piano 16:09, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Featured[edit]

I recommend somebody nominate this for featured status, it's a pretty good article.--Cloak' 19:23, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Qualms about the quote in Presence[edit]

We provide a quote about Rubinstein and say it could easily be mistaken for a Rachmaninoff review. I don't like this approach at all.

  • Firstly, who says it could "easily be mistaken"? That might be the case taken out of context, but if read in its original context, it would be clear that it's Rubinstein the writer's writing about.
  • Secondly, it's only one person's opinion that these words might apply also to Rachmaninoff, which brings it into the area of OR. Why not find a quote actually about Rachmaninoff, rather than making an unrelated quote do work it was never meant to do.
  • Thirdly, if the words do apply to Rachmaninoff, then ipso facto they could not apply to Rubinstein, because it starts out "No artist has ever shown to his audiences so merciless a front", which excludes all of Rachmaninoff's predecessors, including Rubinstein.
  • Fourthly, I can make no sense of "At first sight one is conscious stern".
  • Fifthly, it gives a one-sided impression of his character. He was not as uncompromising as we would have our readers believe, as this quote from the liner notes (written by R. D. Darrell) to my VOX set of Michael Ponti's complete Rachmaninoff piano music attests:
The composer himself was more down to earth (revealing the vein of dry humour familiar to his close friends but unsuspected by the public) in a letter to Medtner, 21 December 1931: "I've played the Corelli Variations about fifteen times, but of these fifteen performances only one was good. The others were sloppy. I can't play my own compositions! And it's so boring! Not once have I played these all in continuity. I was guided by the coughing of the audience. Whenever the coughing would increase, I would skip the next variation. Whenever there was no coughing, I would play them in the proper order. In one concert, I don't remember where - some small town - the coughing was so violent that I played only ten variations (out of 20). My best record was set in New York, where I played 18 variations. However, I hope that you will play all of them, and won't 'cough'". -- JackofOz (talk) 20:13, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Too much opinion?[edit]

I am a huge fan of Rachmaninoff and eat up compliments directed at him. But to me this article has too many personal, diary-esque reflections that do not seem in place in an encyclopedia. If you want to wax lyrical about his life and work, write a book. But here is not the place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.3.95.152 (talk) 22:14, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Examples would be good, but positive opinions aren't a bad thing, so long as they contribute to the nuetral point of view policy. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 23:20, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Personal subjective opinions should at least always be attributed to the source, or removed. Offliner (talk) 09:52, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Actually, this article seems very Russian biased. Rachmaninoff left Russia never to return in response to the revolution's summoning of hatred. Till this day Russia asks of the Rachmaninoff family to return Sergei back to Russia for burial there, but, as directed by Sergei himself, the family declines. Shouldn't this be included? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.173.48.0 (talk) 20:06, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

I put a tag for this. While I would mostly agree to it myself, the style doesn't quite feel right for a Wikipedia article. For example "He was famed for possessing a flawless, clean and inhuman virtuoso piano technique" or "From those barely moving fingers came an unforced, bronzelike sonority and an accuracy bordering on infallibility". If we could quote someone as having said that, it would be ok I guess, but claiming someone had "inhuman" or "infallible" qualities is just a little bit over the top :) --Allefant (talk) 19:49, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Agree. I greatly admire the man but his reputation and technique should be pared down to a single paragraph - readers could then investigate the sources to get a deeper critical feeling that has been writter about him. The way that section reads it would appear Rachmaninoff never had an off-day in performance and could summon the Muses at his command. It's written far too much like a fan's eulogy. HammerFilmFan (talk) 12:18, 25 December 2010 (UTC) HammerFilmFan

"Masterpiece"[edit]

I don't like this statement from the lead: Rachmaninoff's masterpiece, however, is his choral symphony The Bells, in which all of his talents are fused and unified. First, it is not neutral, since "what is his best work" is a matter of personal taste. I also do not like this: In some of his early orchestral pieces he showed the first signs of a talent for tone painting, which he would perfect in The Isle of the Dead,[3] and he began to show a similar penchant for vocal writing in two early sets of songs, Opp. 4 and 8, because this again is expressing a personal opinion of the source ("would perfect") I think such subjective assessments do not belong to the lead, and I have removed them. Offliner (talk) 09:46, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Personal taste does not determine the best work of a composer - for instance, no serious music critic would call Beethoven's 2nd symphony his "best work" simply because it might be his/her personal favorite. It is the responsibility of informed, educated opinions of the majority of musical scholars to determine a pared group of a composer's works into the most influential and best of compositions. It may seem like a fine line, but your statement is far too general to be accurate. That said, "The Bells" is certainly one of Rachmaninoff's best works, but the musical consensus is no one piece of his is the best above all others. I agree no such statements belong in the lede of any composer's article. HammerFilmFan (talk) 12:09, 25 December 2010 (UTC) HammerFilmFan

Citation not needed[edit]

A citation for the picture of Rachmaninoff by one of his Steinway grand pianos ([[File:Rachmaninoff - Steinway grand piano.jpg]]) is not needed, because the piano's design is the Steinway design. It is very clearly if you look at for example the piano legs' ornaments and the "sharp" wood at the left (and right) of the keys. Fanoftheworld (talk) 22:28, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

There is no way for an average viewer to know that, nor do you provide any proof of your assertation. Why not simply remove the word Steinway from the caption. Or is this part of your continuing Steinway propaganda crusade?THD3 (talk) 22:35, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
The grand piano is a large part of the picture, so it is appropriate to write the brand of the piano.
Citation not needed because - an example: Average viewers can not see that this picture (Automobile - at the top right) is a car made by Karl Benz, but nevertheless it is not necessary to add a reference. Fanoftheworld (talk) 23:21, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I see no proof of this piano being a Steinway. I'm adjusting the image text to say "at the piano" instead. Binksternet (talk) 16:14, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I see Binksternet made his comment according to what THD3 wrote on his talk page: User talk:Binksternet#Steinway. Very embarrassing! Fanoftheworld (talk) 19:02, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Not to mention it doesn't matter. At all. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 17:04, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Once again: Citation not needed because - an example: Average viewers can not see that this picture (Automobile - at the top right) is a car made by Karl Benz, but nevertheless it is not necessary to add a reference. And like the picture in the lead of Automobile there is no proof that it is a Karl Benz car.
Regarding "Not to mention it doesn't matter. At all.": The grand piano is a large part of the picture, so it is appropriate to write the brand of the piano. And like the picture in the lead of Automobile there is a picture of a Karl Benz car. Like it is mentioned that it is a Karl Benz car it can also be mentioned that it is a Steinway grand piano. Fanoftheworld (talk) 19:02, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Having a peek at the history of this matter which goes far beyond Rachmaninov's page, I can't assume good faith any more. It's simple -- consensus is against you for putting all this stuff about Steinway into various pages. An yes, it really doesn't matter what kind of piano it is. It's a piano. There's nothing specifically special about it. Cars aren't quite the same matter because there's far more variance in how the look, their features, how they perform, and a number of other things. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 19:21, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
- "Cars aren't quite the same matter because there's far more variance in how the look, their features, how they perform, and a number of other things.". I see that you think that all pianos are the same. You have no knowledge about pianos, so you comments about pianos are completely uninteresting.
- And there is no consensus, just Binksternet, THD3, Karljoos, Madcoverboy and Alexrexpvt who consistenly bach each other up - see for example THD3's comment on User talk:Binksternet#Steinway. Fanoftheworld (talk) 19:29, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
My opinion remains my own. When it intersects with other editors, suddenly you are the target of a cabal. Why would so many other editors agree, independently, about your editing activity? Could it be, perhaps, something to do with the nature of your editing activity? Binksternet (talk) 20:07, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
"independently" - hahaha... look at the users talk pages. Fanoftheworld (talk) 21:39, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
You would say that five users agreeing with each other againt the one you isn't a consensus? Seriously? As for not knowing about pianos, well, I know enough that what I said is true. Yes of course different makers will be different, but not so much that it matters under normal circumstances. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 20:56, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
To ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫: Didn't you read: "And there is no consensus, just Binksternet, THD3, Karljoos, Madcoverboy and Alexrexpvt who consistenly bach each other up - see for example THD3's comment on User talk:Binksternet#Steinway.".
To ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫: Remember to remove "Karl Benz" under the picture in the lead in Automobile.
I give up. Whatever, go on and get yourself blocked by edit warring. I'll be here once again wondering what the hell is wrong with the world. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 22:23, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
See also Talk:Automobile#Brand of car. Fanoftheworld (talk) 11:10, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Ancestry/Last name?[edit]

Well as my understanding of Russian naming conventions goes, Rachmaninov is the son of Rachman or Rachmani. Rachman isn't a Russian name, is it? And if it's son of Rachmani, then it's not beyond the realms of possibility that the last name of his ancestor was Rachmani. Is Rachman the same as the Persian Rahman, or just a homonym?

Not that simple. Rachmaninoff is a descendant of an old Moldavian 'Gospodars' (Princes) family, which roots are in XIV century. One of his direct ancestors was called Rachmanin. Semimartingale (talk) 01:14, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

"was a Russian"[edit]

Apparently, the guy was born in Russia, all right. But the question is what nationality (citizenship) did he have when he died? Russia had stopped existing at the end of 1922 (in the legal sense, for that matter). Thus, if we insist that he kept being "Russian" that, in fact, means he was Soviet (?).Axxxion (talk) 01:40, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

The same one he was born with, as is everyone's: He was a Russian. Nationality is one's ethnicity, usually associated with what one's native language is. For instance, "Austrian" is not a nationality - it is a political term; Austrians are composed of a majority of Germans, with some Italians and Swiss and Hungarians (Magyars.) No one would consider the U.S.A. or Austria a 'nation-state' in the manner that Hungary is. Anyway, in Rachmaninoff's case, he had both Russian and American citizenships.HammerFilmFan (talk) 12:00, 25 December 2010 (UTC)HammerFilmFan
No, your question is "what nationality did he have when he died?" I don't think this is necessarily anyone else's question, and anyway you already appear to have answered it (American citizenship) to your own satisfaction. I believe it was Stravinsky (another expatriate Russian) who described Rachmaninoff as "six feet of Russian misery". --RobertGtalk 09:03, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, i am pretty certain this is not solely my question. It may appear to be a trivial one to a born American who is used to civil liberties and freedom to travel, but for pretty much everyone else the question about what legal status he had is a paramount one. I wrote "American" simply on the basis of his apparent permanent residence; this in no way signifies he was a US citizen - some Russian refugees (from the 1917 revolution) preferred to stay in exactly that status, that is techinically without a citizenship.Axxxion (talk) 18:05, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Hey, who are you calling an American? Watch your language!  :-) --RobertGtalk 18:36, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
He did become an American citizen, on 1 February 1943, eight weeks before he died. This is revealed in Life of Sergei Rachmaninoff, a separate article. -- JackofOz (talk) 19:26, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
To add a non-Wiki source, Sergei Rachmaninoff: a bio-bibliography By Robert Cunningham states the following: "On 1 February 1943 he [Rachmaninoff] and his wife became natualized American citizens." I have added this source to the article.THD3 (talk) 18:32, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that Rachmaninoff, notwithstanding his taking American citizenship scarcely two months before his death in 1943, was to all intents and purposes a Russian composer. Certainly he had composed all his music by 1941, and his last work - the Symphonic Dances - significantly quotes from his own setting of the Russian Orthodox All-Night Vigil. He was throughout his creative life first and foremost a Russian, and it is surely significant that his grave is marked with a Russian Orthodox cross. I can only imagine that he took American citizenship for the most mundane of practical reasons, and the fact he did so years after he had ceased composing seems to me entirely significant. No reputable authority that I know of describes him as anything other than a Russian composer, and I think with good reason. I will therefore reword the opening paragraph of the article. Alfietucker (talk) 20:12, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
There's a creeping tendency to claim Rachmaninoff as an 'American composer' and 'American pianist' - which seems to me nonsense. He wasn't trained in America but in Russia, and was buried as a Russian. No doubt if the Soviet system had collapsed in his lifetime he would have returned to Russia. Please read my previous comment for further reasons why I have deleted those categories from the article. Alfietucker (talk) 21:36, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Completely agree -- he's Russian, and nothing else makes any sense. Claiming him as somehow an "American" composer because he took citizenship in the U.S. late in his life is needless pedantry, at best. Cheers, Antandrus (talk) 23:20, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Separate articles? Merge redux[edit]

The question above actually brings to light a major problem with having separate articles, both appearing to give the main points of the subject's life. Who gets to decide whether a particular piece of new information is important enough for Life of Sergei Rachmaninoff, but not important enough for Sergei Rachmaninoff? It would baffle me. There was a discussion (above) about keeping these articles separate, but there was never one about creating the Life article in the first place. Since then, this page has received far more traffic than the Life article has: the Life article has had only 1 (yes, 1) edit in 2009 and only 6 in total, ever, not counting its creation, whereas this one has had a couple of hundred in 2009 alone, and probably some thousands all up.

But how can this be? Surely, if the Life article is meant to be far more detailed than this one, then most new information would be going there and most of the editorial attention would be focussed there. Some information would go in both articles. But very little would be going in this article alone. Yet, the opposite is the case.

It seems to me that having these separate articles is not working, and has never really worked. The Life article was said to be a "work in progress", but even the creator seems to have given up on it.

I propose that they be merged into one article once more. No information would be lost; but it would all be in the one place, the place that most editors are expecting to find it. -- JackofOz (talk) 19:26, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree. The articles should be merged. The information in the Life article is mostly redundant. And a vote of two editors (one of whom has not been active for over a year and a half, is hardly a ringing endorsement.THD3 (talk) 19:52, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Merge. Alton never should have created his fork of Rachmaninoff's life as it is the responsibility of the article Sergei Rachmaninoff to portray everything important about the man's life. To my way of thinking, Alton should have worked within this article, not created a parallel one. Merge them. Binksternet (talk) 00:31, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

That's not how WP works. See WP:SUMMARY. If there's enough for a new article (and I'm not saying there is in this case), then it's fine to have both. Of course, given how it is NOW, it's bad -- the main article has too much to be also split off -- but it's not an inherently bad thing. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 01:15, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Merge it. Yes Binksternet, ideally it would've been worked on within this article, but the detail I was going for was that of the first three paragraphs in Life which are not "mostly redundant" (his siblings aren't mentioned at all in this main page, nothing about his grandmother, who both first exposed him to liturgical music and was one of the sources of his famous laziness, Zverev and his relationship with Sergei, which is so instrumental to his development, is also barely brushed over, and so on); further, no one decides what is more important, but I know that on the other side the level of detail in those first paragraphs would be certainly scrubbed out of this main page as fluff. But I guess that ambition goes beyond esoteric even for Wiki. ALTON .ıl 11:09, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Then move the relevant information to Sergei Rachmaninoff childhood and Sergei Rachmaninoff early career or similar. My biggest problem with the detail presented at the Life of Sergei Rachmaninoff page is that it announces itself as "Life of" rather than singling out a subdivision of his life, appropriate to a split from the main article. I think that any biography article implies "Life of" in front of the name of the person, and that no article should be entitled "Life of X" when X suffices. Binksternet (talk) 15:22, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
After no response here and considerable thought, I have moved the Life of Sergei Rachmaninoff page to Youth of Sergei Rachmaninoff. The youth section was the one most prominently augmented by Alton, and the word "life" misdirected the reader from this article here, entitled simply Sergei Rachmaninoff. As well, I trimmed off all the non-youth parts of the newly moved article, in keeping with its new name. Binksternet (talk) 13:41, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately, that has had the effect of certain post-youth information just disappearing off into the bottomless pit of oblivion. Such as the fact of, and precise date of, his becoming a US citizen (1 Feb 1943), which was mentioned there and is not here. And various other things too, I'll bet. Someone needs to do a merge of the excised material with this article, and quickly. Those who did the fiddling with the original set up have responsibility for ensuring that information is not lost, and to fix such problems if and when they do occur. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 18:59, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with you Jack, but I'll be surprised if those "various other things" that were added to the biographical article persist on this page. ALTON .ıl 04:46, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
OK, I've now had a good close look at the movements of text, and have substantially restored most of what went missing. Some of it's now in the main article, some in the Youth article. Now we can move on. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 09:05, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Featured Picture[edit]

Sergei Rachmaninoff LOC 30160 cropped.jpg

Does anyone mind if my featured picture of Rachmaninoff is used in the article somewhere? Perhaps someone could write a caption for it. Etincelles (talk) 10:58, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Great photo! It would work well in the article. Can you Photoshop a replacement button onto his vest? Heh heh... Binksternet (talk) 16:33, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
I could, but I think it would misrepresent the historical source. Etincelles (talk) 17:11, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

As a sideline to this discussion, where do we cross the line between having an adequately illustrated article and a cluttered one? Subjectively, I would say that one photo per section is more than adequate. Wikipedia:MOS#Images does not have rigid rules for the number of images in an article, but does have guidelines. I am of the opinion that this article has crossed the line with too many photos. There is a category for Rachmaninoff in commons, after all.[2]THD3 (talk) 13:38, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Friendship with Vladimir Horowitz[edit]

Is somebody trying to promote a movie or book? This article is on Rachmaninoff and not V. Horowitz isn't it? I've never seen a Wiki page on an artist feature so much content on another artist (unless they were married). Even though below it states it was trimmed! — Preceding unsigned comment added by StyleIcons (talkcontribs) 09:06, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

I am substantially trimming this section. Much of it is out of scope for the article, which is a biographical article on Rachmaninoff. Second, much of the information in the source (a Milwaukee Journal article from 1943) is just plain wrong. Horowitz never played the Rachmaninoff Second Concerto after he left Russia, and he never performed under Rachmaninoff's baton. And the bit about their 1928 meeting being "recreated" defines irrelevance.THD3 (talk) 17:19, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

I agree with the trimming. It never occurred to me until I read the reference, but on reflection I couldn't remember ever hearing Horowitz play the Rach 2, only the Rach 3. And now I know why. But such a recording would go on my "List of Recordings that Should Have Been Made but Weren't", along with Horowitz's version of the Wanderer Fantasy. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 09:12, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

I have once again removed inaccurate information from this section. Horowitz never played the Rachmaninoff Second Concerto after he left Russia, and he never performed under Rachmaninoff's baton. No right thinking person would describe Horowitz as a "champion" of the Second Concerto based on the few times he played it in Russia, by which time the work was already well known.THD3 (talk) 12:11, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

This section is still much too long. Can you pare it down to just a paragraph? HammerFilmFan (talk) 11:54, 25 December 2010 (UTC) HammerFilmFan

I did a little trimming, removing some purple prose, adding a few details. You can also be bold and do the trimming yourself.THD3 (talk) 19:58, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

This section still needs a thorough for accuracy. It's been a while since I read Plaskin's bio of Horowitz but, if memory serves correctly, it was Horowitz who sought Rachmaninoff's friendship, not the other way around, and Rachmaninoff kept his distance till after Horowitz married Wanda due to rumors of Horowitz's homosexuality. Jonyungk (talk) 22:54, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Please reinstate the audio of Rachmaninoff playing List S.480[edit]

I would do it, but I don't know how.

It was labeled something like "the Liszt transcription of Chopin's "The Maiden's Wish" ". Since it didn't start like like the score, I thought it was mislabeled. I would label it as

An excerpt from last part (starting at Variant II) of Liszt S.480 - Chants polonais #1 based on Chopin's Op.74-1 - The Maiden's Wish —Preceding unsigned comment added by Giles1939 (talkcontribs) 14:41, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Unholy clutter at the top[edit]

Anyone who thinks that messy opening had impact and was a service to readers, I ask to consider the advantages of my edit. Instead of wading through the extraordinary level of detail, much of it inappropriate in a summary, to get to the second item in the grammatical sentence ("was"), I have removed both New and Old Style birth-dates down to where you'd expect them to be, at the start of "Life", the opening section. The date of death is still at the end of the bio section, where it's useful. I've relocated the cyrillic script into the footnotes (very very few English-speakers can read cyrillic script, and it's still there for the vanishingly small number of readers who might want to verify, in the footnote). Tony (talk) 04:16, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Everything looks good to me except taking the exact dates out. I don't know how this comes across to others, but to me it's a jolt; all comprehensive reference works I know include them. Not putting them there implies we don't know them. All the OS stuff can go in a footnote. Antandrus (talk) 04:26, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Putting the OS stuff in a footnote would be an improvement, but the full complement of numerals makes it hard to pick up the year-range of his life, which is critical in historical and cultural terms. The fact that he was born on 1 April is not critical right at the top, and IMO belongs in the section that announces his birth, along with its location. Tony (talk) 04:29, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Name in Russian in lead[edit]

To Tony:

Your summary at last edit: "This is not the Russian WP, and our readers tend not to read Russian. Please explain why the clutter can't be in a ref."[3]

My answer: Because all other Russian writers, composers, cities, rivers etc. have their name in original Russian in lead. That's why. And I can't see how someone's original name in Russian could be considered "clutter". The rest, such as different ways to spell a Russian name in English, that is "clutter" and should remain in footnote.

even the name for "vodka" is given in Russian:

--Frania W. (talk) 04:12, 21 November 2010 (UTC)


The one part of of an intro that is NOT clutter, is the pronunciation of the name, which we don't have. As noted above, the end is properly devoiced and pronounced "-off" not "ov" which is doubtless why the composer chose to translitate it that way all his life, and why it's in English on his gravestone that way. The "off" pronunciation is closest, even if all the standard transliterations demand "ov". It's even true for composer Ри́мский-Ко́рсаков = Rimsky-Korsakov as well; it's transliterated "Korsakov" but pronounced "Korsakoff". Wiki articles quite commonly have pronounciations, especially for words often mispronounced. Here is one of them. The problem now is whether to do IPA or the much easier to read pronunciation respelling. I vote for the latter. Why don't we present the reader with something useful, like how to say the man's name in a way that won't get you branded as a Philistine? SBHarris 05:28, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
  • "Because all other Russian writers, composers, cities, rivers etc. have their name in original Russian in lead. That's why." That is a very bad reason to start insisting on this inappropriate, useless clutter that utterly ruins the opening of the article. Which bit of Сергей Васильевич Рахманинов do you understand? This is right at the opening of the article, a critical place where the readers' attention is greatest. Yet there seems to be some issue about avoiding stuff they have no hope of creating any meaning out of, unless, of course, they are Russian-speakers. And while the transliteration is provided, again at clutter-point, I have difficulty in determining exactly how it is different from the way the name would be pronounced by an English-speaker from the standard English orthography given at the start. How? Tell me; I'd love to know how "Sergey Vasil'evich Rakhmaninov" differs in pronunciation from "Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff". If I can't tell, why is it not in a footnote, where it is available to anyone who wants, but does not wreck the impact of the opening for everyone? Tony (talk) 06:20, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
This isn't just WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS here. It's a matter of the large majority of articles across WP doing it, hardly just Russian people. Japanese, Chinese, etc etc. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 07:07, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
You can't tell the difference between Rock-man-in-ov, and Rackh-man-in-off? Do you say Noodles Romanoff or Noodles Romanov? Which one was the royal family? (hint-- it's all the same name, so if you pronouce the dish differently from the Czar's family, you have a problem). Do you say Beef Stroganoff or Beef Stroganov? Same problem-- but there it's spelled with the same "ov" Russian ending, but pronounced with an "-off" in English and (this time) transliterated that way (just as the Czar's name is somehow not). I agree that the Cyrillic is off-putting in the lede. It should simply have the composer's name as he spelled it in English (Rachmaninoff), and then a pronunciation as close as possible to how he said it, which would have been the way Russians do: Rackh-MAN-in-off. The first thing you can do in the section after the lede, is put in the Cyrillic and the formal academic transliteration, which are in the lede now, and doing no good.

Having said all that, every ancient Greek has his name in Greek letters in the lede also. Look at Socrates and Plato: if you want to fight this battle on WP you have to start with them, not with Russian composers. There's plenty of precident for using alphabets that WP supports for non-Latin-lettered personal names. So if you are going to kick SOMETHING out of the lede, it would be the formal academic transliteration, which is the least useful of all the information there now, because it isn't used by ANYBODY. SBHarris 08:08, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Yep. So that deals with the transliteration, which at least is in roman script that gives some idea (although nothing definitive, particularly in this case) of what it's trying to convey to the readers. Can we deal with the totally foreign Cyrillic script, now? Why should that not also go into a footnote? Tony (talk) 08:33, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Because we don't do it for the Greeks or anybody else that has a supported font on WP. Sorry, but here is not the place to change policy. If we have roman, it should be the way the man did it, and to assist in how we say it, neither of which the academic roman transliteration does. SBHarris 08:42, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Okay, now we're getting somewhere! We have only the Russian pronunciation in the lede, which is the most important thing and reduces the clutter. But now the rest is gone completely. Could we now put the Cyrillic name someplace back in the article, perhaps at the beginning of the birth section? We can leave the academic transliteration out, since Rachmaninoff did that for himself (and differently) and in any case his own transliteration choice is now what fronts the article in the lede.SBHarris 22:47, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Why give a different treatment to Rachmaninoff? Please look at the nearly 20 examples I gave above. The most important in the lede is his name in Russian, i.e. in Cyrillic. As for the pronunciation, English speakers who do not know Russian will pronounce the way Rachmaninoff is pronounced in English-speaking countries- to me it is the transliteration that is superfluous.
--Frania W. (talk) 23:42, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
The transliteration would be superfluous except that it is Rachmaninoff's personal transliteration-- the one published on his Engish works, his English concert schedules, and his gravemarker. So we use that. The academic transliteration (as well as all others) is actually bad, as it contains at least one letter (the v at the end of the name, for в) that is never said as "f" in English, but is not voiced as v in Russian in these conditions. It's pronouced "f" or "ph", so why it's transliterated as v is a mystery to me, but one that we can leave out so it doesn't confuse the reader. See above. As to having the Cyrillic somewhere in in the lede, I'm agnostic. It's not so bad if we leave out the academic transliterations. It does tend to clutter up the first sentence, particularly as we have an old-style date to deal with also. But as a "next" thing to go in, that would be it. Yes, I see your examples, but we're not treating Rachmaninoff totally differently from everybody. There is no Cyrillic in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky nor Leo Tolstoy, both of which you give as having them. They've been removed since. This now varies from article to article. SBHarris 00:14, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
The reason why there is no Cyrillic in
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky [4]
nor Leo Tolstoy[5]
is because someone removed them after the discussion had begun here. All articles on Russians have had Cyrillic up to now.
Here is how Russian wikipedia handles articles on foreigners whose names in the original are not in Cyrillic:
  • Jeanne d'Arc[6]
  • Ernest Hemingway[7]
  • Victor Hugo[8]
  • Mickey Mouse[9]
--Frania W. (talk) 03:59, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Per Frania, it's standard for Russian bios to have the Cyrillic name in the lede. I think this is a very dubious change which doesn't have wide consensus. Since this has the potential to affect many, many articles I will bring the issue up at WikiProject:Russia. --Folantin (talk) 13:47, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Opinions on whether Cyrillic Russian spelling, exact date and place of birth, pronunciation (in English and/or Russian), and so on are "clutter" differ from one editor to another, and every now and then threads just like this one pop up here or there. I would like to thank Folantin for bringing this to the attention of WP:RUSSIA, but as a matter of fact this should be brought up before an even wider audience. The long-standing consensus has been that all these pieces of information are fine in the lead as they are. My recommendation would be to stop arguing over this particular article, and submit an RfC regarding the matter. Also, it shouldn't be just about Cyrillic in the lead; it should be about all the data bits normally found there. Going through process will take time, but clarifying the issue once and for all is well worth the effort. Perhaps something better will come out of it even. Arguing over one article at a time, on the other hand, is just silly and a waste of everyone's time.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); December 17, 2010; 14:48 (UTC)
And, in the meantime, name in Cyrillic should be kept in lead in all Russian-related articles (or ancient Greek for that matter); if not, we are going to have a mess on our hands, which has already begun by the removing of Cyrillic name at Tchaikovsky & Tolstoy. And keep transliteration out, that's the messy part.
--Frania W. (talk) 15:04, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Transliteration (when it differs from the article's title) is actually required to be in the lead by the WP:RUS guideline. On the rest, you are right. Due process needs to be followed.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); December 17, 2010; 15:35 (UTC)
OK. FW

I missed this discussion, but regardless I oppose this change. KEEP THE RUSSIAN. Removal is one of the most ridiculous ideas I've ever heard on Wiki. Should we take 北京 out of Beijing? "our readers tend not to read Russian" is a completely baseless, flippant argument. ALTON .ıl 05:49, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Spelling[edit]

The spelling of names originally written in cyrillic characters mostly follows the rules where the person first received documents in our latin characters. With composers it often follows the rules of the language where the publisher of the music is. The -ov ending is preferred in Englisch, -off in French, -ow in German. The throat sound best described as kh is -ch in German for instance. The -ski or -sky ending is kind of interchangable in our world.

Misleading statement about American concerts after 1909[edit]

This statement:

Rachmaninoff made his first tour of the United States as a pianist in 1909, an event for which he composed the Piano Concerto No. 3 (Op. 30, 1909) as a calling card. This successful tour made him a popular figure in America. Nevertheless, he loathed the tour and declined offers of future American concerts.[21]

is misleading, given the following sections about R. living in the U.S. and concertizing extensively. Citation is to Grove -- is that what they really say? Should be some qualification given about when he changed his mind.

(Is this something I should check out and edit, or leave to original author? Not sure of protocol here.) Dwythe (talk) 21:36, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

I amended the passage to clear up this point. Jonyungk (talk) 22:55, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Link to Rachmaninoff Performance Diary[edit]

I'd like a link to the Rachmaninoff Performance Diary, hosted by the Rachmaninoff Society, to be included on the Rachmaninoff page. The URL is: http://www.rachmaninoff.org/rachdiary/index_embed.php Bulfinchmyth (talk) 23:41, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Would be redundant, as the main site is already linked. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 23:47, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree that the Society's main page is linked, however it is not clear that a reader can through it access a complete listing of every concert given by Rachmaninoff as pianist, conductor, chamber musician, and recording sessions, etc. I note there is a listing for Rachmaninoff's performances as a conductor on a separate line, but the Performance Diary site clearly exceeds that by a great dimension. If it's not possible to create a separate link, could information on the same line indicate that through the Society's site one can navigate to a complete list of all of Rachmaninoff's performances and recording sessions? Bulfinchmyth (talk) 05:32, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Date of birth[edit]

This is gonna need some discussion.

For starters, how can 20 March 1873 in the OS calendar equate to 2 April 1873 in the NS calendar - which is a 13-day gap - when there was only a 12-day gap at that time? It didn't increase to 13 days till 1900. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 04:50, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Agree. Modern "scholars" just made a mistake. Several sources state his birthday was on 20 March, hence 1 April in Gregorian.--GoPTCN 10:55, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
The current New Grove gives April 1, and they have the following note: "According to the Old Style calendar, he was born on 20 March 1873, yielding 1 April as the New Style date; but after emigrating from Russia in 1917, Rachmaninoff habitually celebrated his birthday using the 20th-century conversion principle of adding 13 days to the Old Style date. The plaque on his tomb thus bears the birthdate 2 April 1873." (Geoffrey Norris) So he chose to celebrate it using the more recent conversion, but technically 1 April is correct, therefore they use that in their article. We could solve it with a footnote. Antandrus (talk) 14:11, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Antandrus to the rescue once again. I know it would have been something very much like that. Lots of people celebrated their birthdays on the wrong days - some knowingly, some unwittingly - but that doesn't matter a tinker's cuss as to when they were actually born. It's not just "technically" correct to say he was born on 1 April - that is in fact the only correct date. And there should be an article about all the notable people who have the wrong birth dates on their graves (Szymanowski is another). A footnote would be a good idea. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 22:05, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
There are even a few in which the wrong birth year was given-- Doc Holliday's marker was only corrected recently (he was born 1851, not 1852) [10]. Gravestone errors (Minor and grave grave errors? ;)) would make a fascinating Wiki. SBHarris 01:17, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Case for a single article on the 24 Preludes?[edit]

At present it's somewhat diffuse. We have the following articles:

This schema reflects the fact that SVR did not, as far as we know, set out originally to compose a set of 24 preludes, one in each key. That idea came to him later - but when, exactly? When he composed Op. 23, was it merely a fluke that they were all in different keys, none of which duplicated the C-sharp minor prelude, or was it by design? I prefer to think it was design.

I haven't found any cite that tells us what his thinking was on this matter, or exactly when he decided that Op. 32 would be a completion of the set of 24 that he had half done up to that point. All we know for sure is that, by Op. 32 he had definitely decided to plug the gaps, so to speak. See [11]. I'd love to hear any information that expands on my limited knowledge.

The point is that, however it may have started out, it did eventually evolve quite deliberately into a set of 24 preludes covering all the major and minor keys. The full set has been recorded by many pianists, including: Howard Shelley, Moura Lympany, Michael Ponti, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Steven Osborne, Peter Katin, Ruth Laredo, Dimitri Alexeev, Eldar Nebolsin, Sergio Fiorentino, Boris Berezovsky, Rustem Hayroudinoff, Stewart L. Gordon, Mathieu Gaudet, Barbara Nissman, Megumi Fujita, and no doubt others. (There are also a number of recordings of just Op, 23, or just Op. 32, and too many to count of the C-sharp minor alone. But probably almost as many of the G minor and various other favourites.)

Give this background, I think many of our beloved readers would be interested in an article on the set as a whole, not just on the 3 individual opuses or the individual preludes. They could be reading this while listening to one of the above recordings, for example. Do we even need separate articles on the individual preludes? On balance, they serve a good purpose; they can contain detailed information that would be too much for the main article. And people do have their favourites that they’re interested in reading about. That means we’re gonna have to write the remaining 13 articles for Op. 32. I’m sure that’s on a few people’s to do lists anyway.

At present, the templates show all Rachmaninoff's opuses separately, regardless of their contents, and that works. But the 24 Preludes, unlike any other of his works, also belong together in a way that transcends that academic opus-based approach. I would suggest this be an additional item on the templates, so that people can approach them from any angle that suits them.

Is this ringing anyone's chimes at this stage? I don't want to invest any more time or effort into it if it isn't going to be a goer. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 05:11, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

One of the reasons I'm advocating a unified article (which would not necessarily mean getting rid of the separate ones, but may mean a little modification of them), is that there now exists Music written in all 24 major and minor keys, which discusses the Rachmaninoff preludes quite extensively as a group of 24, and it would be good to have an article to complement that. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 12:20, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
OK, I've considered all your thoughtful and detailed responses (* cough *), rejected every last one of them, and written Preludes (Rachmaninoff). -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 23:57, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

The proper spelling[edit]

The correct spelling is actually Rakhmaninov. I am a Russian person and I know the translation of all Russian to English words. If you spelt it Rachmaninov, it would translate to saying Ra-ch man-in-ov, which is not correct. The ending should be ov, because no Russian names actually end in -off. They end in -ov.

This is correct, but Russian romanization is often inconsistent. For example we have Feodor Chaliapin (actually Fyodor Shalyapin), or Pyotr Tchaikovsky (actually Pyotr Chaykovsky). That inconsistency is probably also caused by frequent immigrations, as other countries have different naming conventions. Nethertheless, Wikipedia usually follows the most common style, and this is probably "Sergei Rachmaninoff". Regards. --Tomcat (7) 09:39, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Fortunately, we have the fact that he migrated to the West and he used Latin script to spell his name "Sergei Rachmaninoff". If we spell it any other way, that would be tantamount to us telling the composer, posthumously, that he spelt his own name incorrectly. And that would be the most appalling arrogance on our part. This question was settled conclusively back in 2008. Rachmaninoff has spoken! -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 11:25, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Characterising Rachmaninoff's musical style in lede[edit]

There has been a bit of an edit war over this passage:

"Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave way to a thoroughly personal idiom that included a pronounced lyricism, expressive breadth, structural ingenuity, and a tonal palette of rich, distinctive orchestral colors." [Citation: Norris, New Grove, 2nd. ed. , 707.]

While I to an extent understand the concern about it being over-florid in style, I think to remove altogether any listing of the characteristics of R's music is not helpful to those who are less able to deduce those characteristics from the specified influences. So I've replaced the passage with:

"Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave way to a personal style notable for its lyricism, expressiveness, structural ingenuity, and his use of rich orchestral colors." [same citation]

I hope that works, but if anyone is uneasy about this, say so and I'll try quoting various authorities direct instead (unfortunately I don't have the Norris immediately to hand, so it would have to be quotes from other books I have with me). Alfietucker (talk) 22:27, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Here's a quick history: User:Jonyungk added that wording back in May 2008 with this change. The spelling mistakes were eventually corrected, of course, but nobody seems to have questioned what the cited source says, specifically. The florid wording makes me think there might be a problem with a too-close paraphrasing of the New Grove source. It would be great to have the relevant paragraph of that book quoted here to help us sort out what direction to go next.
Three days ago, User:Toccata quarta removed the florid prose citing the guideline Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Words to watch, which has a puffery section dealing with hyperbolic praise words. Binksternet (talk) 23:47, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

I'm disappointed that a discussion on this has even been created, but then again WP:WTA, along with WP:BOLDTITLE and WP:PSTS, is among Wikipedia's most disregarded guidelines/policies. Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view (see also WP:PEA). "His music is lyrical" is not neutral, and neither is the claim that "his music is expressive, structurally ingenious and colourful". Unless we are quoting a WP:RS, such comments should not be present in Wikipedia articles. Toccata quarta (talk) 08:32, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Don't be disappointed, Toccata quarta - editing here is not about imposing what one particular editor believes is right, but about achieving consensus, and that is particularly important if other editors (plural) disagree with an edit (which is clearly the case here). Anyway, thank you for joining the discussion. To go through your objections one by one: 1) "His music is lyrical" [i.e. in actual text "a personal style notable for its lyricism"]. Thank you for picking me up on that - I so habitually assume that "lyrical" means melodious, but on checking on-line dictionaries find this is far from an established definition. So how about changing it to "melodious" (a statement of fact)? Still, I think it could be argued that it is an appropriate description given Rachmaninoff's song writing, and the fact his melodies are often sublimated songs or Orthodox plainchant. So maybe "noted for its song-like melody"? 2) "his music is expressive" - certainly a point of fact, especially given that he was a near contemporary of Stravinsky who and Hindemith who both famously tried to *avoid* making their music expressive. It's expressive in the sense that it expresses emotions (famously melancholy) and often a narrative (e.g. Isle of the Dead, The Rock etc.). 3) "structurally ingenious" - obviously it can be argued this needs substantiation. But given the citation this is not something invented by the editor who originally put that text in. 4) "colourful" - presumably you mean, as in "rich orchestral colors", which actually is not quite the same thing: "richly orchestrated" is fairly standard shorthand for "uses a great variety instruments" and can also imply, particularly in the context of "rich orchestral colors", that the composer has "blended" these instrumental colors to achieve his sounds - as opposed, for instance, to Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich and Stravinsky who tended to use instruments more soloistically. So, even assuming that no source is involved (not the case here, I believe), I think the only contentious statements are "lyricism" and about Rachmaninoff's ingenious structures. Perhaps that would be best made into a direct quote. Any further thoughts? Alfietucker (talk) 08:56, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
Clearly you do not understand encyclopedic neutrality. Toccata quarta (talk) 10:04, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
Oh really? Can you please explain how my explanation above led to your conclusion - I'm sure it would be very helpful to me and other editors in resolving this issue. Alfietucker (talk) 10:09, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
A couple of things, folks. First, we're talking about something I added FIVE YEARS AGO, when I was relatively new on Wiki. Should I use the Norris material now, I would include quote marks and attribute ("According to musicologist Geoffrey Norris ..." for example). Second (and related), while Wiki is supposed to have a NEUTRAL POV, it (a) does not mean it can include NO POV, (b) does not mean it cannot cite a POV as long as the source is mentioned and referenced accordingly and (c) does not mean that more than one POV can be cited to offer, if not an absence of such, at least a basis upon which a reader could use to weigh and assess accordingly.
Like Toccata quarta, I'm slightly distressed this discussion is here at all but perhaps not for the same reason. Wiki is reputed to be the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. That to my mind means that if there is something that you don't like in an article and you can arguably improve the article by changing, you amend it accordingly and move on. The fact this article is apparently being argued rather than simply fixed FIVE YEARS after the fact would suggest sloth in the very long interim and a preference for carping over direct action, despite any positive intent.Jonyungk (talk) 13:00, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Just to gently point out that I did indeed try to fix the problem, and it is only because an editor demolished my attempt on what seemed to me a false premise that I brought it to Talk here, in line with WP:BRD. Otherwise I think I'm in agreement with you, Jonyungk, except did you mean at "c" to say "does not mean that more than one POV can *not* be cited to offer [etc]" - i.e. it should be possible to offer two clearly sourced and contrary POVs for readers "to weigh and assess accordingly"?
Also, do you have the relevant Geoffrey Norris passage to hand to quote, as Binksternet suggested might help? Alfietucker (talk) 13:16, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
The Norris book was accessed from the library of a local college I was attending at the time. A quick search on Google Books or Amazon might unearth an online copy. Otherwise, a visit to said college would be needed for me to access the book. Since my time these days is extremely limited, though, I can't promise anything. However, since articles this size are supposed to have a three- or four-paragraph lede, why doesn't someone write a new lede that hopefully upon which the majority could agree? (I believe I did at one point but it was cut down to the point of virtual deletion—endemic of the contention Alfietucker had made here.)Jonyungk (talk) 13:25, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Not to worry. At least the lede seems to have settled lately, though I'm not sure about the word "melodicism", which seems unnecessarily ugly. But I thought I'd leave that and see what other editors think. Alfietucker (talk) 13:34, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Jonyungk, your recommendation of the use of "According to musicologist Geoffrey Norris" underscores the likelihood that this article has carried an example of too-close paraphrasing, or even copyright violation, for five years. This is not a minor problem to shrug off. I think a rewrite of the lead is needed. Binksternet (talk) 15:00, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Binksternet: We're talking about something I wrote FIVE YEARS AGO about a practice I've long since stopped using. YEARS. How 'bout we get f-ing real here, folks, and stop this f*&@ing witch hunt?Jonyungk (talk) 16:57, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Hey calm down, both of you! So let's see if we can get that part of the lede re-written. FWIW, I think with all the rewriting (even in the past week or so), and the given citation, I doubt this would qualify as a copyright violation. But I think there's room for improvement. Alfietucker (talk) 17:18, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Gentlemen, what about adding to the poor Edvard Grieg's lead a sentence characterizing his style, please?--24.186.223.176 (talk) 18:48, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

This isn't the place for that matter. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:46, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Piano Concerto No. 3[edit]

It's written "The cadenza of Piano Concerto No. 3 is famous for its large chords", but I can't see any large chords. They seem quite normal. Everyone who can reach an octave would be able to play them. Please give a better example.--2.246.34.238 (talk) 22:06, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Maybe "dense chordal writing" would make more sense. Toccata quarta (talk) 08:15, 12 December 2013 (UTC)


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