The composer Sergei Rachmaninoff produced a number of solo piano pieces that were either lost, unpublished, or not assigned an opus number. While often disregarded in the concert repertoire, they are nevertheless part of his oeuvre. He composed sixteen such pieces, and all others are lost. Ten of these pieces were composed before he completed his Piano Concerto No. 1, his first opus, and the rest interspersed throughout his later life. In these casual works, he draws upon the influence of other composers, including Frédéric Chopin and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The more substantial works, the Three Nocturnes and Four Pieces, are sets of well-thought out pieces that are his first attempts at cohesive structure among multiple pieces. Oriental Sketch and Prelude in D minor, two pieces he composed very late in his life, are short works that exemplify his style as a mature composer. Whether completed as a child or adult, these pieces cover a wide spectrum of forms while maintaining his characteristic Russian style.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner (; German pronunciation: [ˈʁi.çaʁt ˈvaɡ.nɐ]; 22 May 1813, Leipzig, Germany – 13 February 1883, Venice, Italy) was a German composer, conductor, theatre director and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or "music dramas", as they were later called). Unlike most other great opera composers, Wagner wrote both the scenario and libretto for his works.
Richard Wagner was born at no. 3 ('the House of the Red and White Lions'), the Brühl, in Leipzig, on 22 May 1813, the ninth child of Carl Friedrich Wagner, who was a clerk in the Leipzig police service. Wagner's father died of typhus six months after Richard's birth, following which Wagner's mother, Johanna Rosine Wagner, began living with the actor and playwright Ludwig Geyer, who had been a friend of Richard's father. In August 1814 Johanna Rosine married Geyer, and moved with her family to his residence in Dresden. For the first 14 years of his life, Wagner was known as Wilhelm Richard Geyer. Wagner may later have suspected that Geyer was in fact his biological father, and furthermore speculated incorrectly that Geyer was Jewish.
Geyer's love of the theatre was shared by his stepson, and Wagner took part in his performances. In his autobiography, Wagner recalled once playing the part of an angel. The boy Wagner was also hugely impressed by the Gothic elements of Weber's Der Freischütz. In late 1820, Wagner was enrolled at Pastor Wetzel's school at Possendorf, near Dresden, where he received some piano instruction from his Latin teacher. He could not manage a proper scale but preferred playing theatre overtures by ear. Geyer died in 1821, when Richard was eight. Consequently, Wagner was sent to the Kreuz Grammar School in Dresden, paid for by Geyer's brother. The young Wagner entertained ambitions as a playwright, his first creative effort (listed as 'WWV 1') being a tragedy, Leubald begun at school in 1826, which was strongly influenced by Shakespeare and Goethe. Wagner was determined to set it to music; he persuaded his family to allow him music lessons.