Suite No. 1 (Rachmaninoff)

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Suite No. 1 (or Fantaisie-Tableaux for two pianos), Op. 5, is a composition for two pianos by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Composed in the summer of 1893 at the Lysikofs estate in Lebeden, Kharkov,[1] this suite was initially titled Fantaisie (Tableaux) since Rachmaninoff intended it, as he explained in a letter to his cousin Sofia Satin, to consist "of a series of musical pictures."[1] While François-Rene Tranchefort asserts that the music illustrates four extracts of poems (written by Mikhail Lermontov, Lord Byron, Fyodor Tyutchev and Aleksey Khomyakov),[2][3] Rachmaninoff biographer Max Harrison counters that while the poems "convey something of the emotional tone of the music," the music itself is not programmatic.[1]

This work was first performed on November 30, 1893, by Rachmaninoff and Pavel Pabst in Moscow, and is dedicated to Tchaikovsky. Rachmaninoff composed a second suite in 1901.

The four movements are:

I. Barcarolle. Allegretto, in G minor.
II. La nuit... L'amour... Adagio sostenuto, in D major. (The night...the love...)
III. Les Larmes. Largo di molto, in G minor. (The Tears)
IV. Pâques. Allegro maestoso, in G minor. (Easter)

Perhaps surprisingly, given that Rachmaninoff wrote orchestral and two-piano versions of his Symphonic Dances, which is effectively a three-movement symphony, no one has orchestrated this Suite as a possible symphony.


  1. ^ a b c Harrison, Max (2005). Rachmaninoff: Life, Works, Recordings. London: Continuum. p. 22. 
  2. ^ Tranchefort, François-Rene (1987). Guide de la musique de piano et de clavecin. Fayard. 
  3. ^ Rachmaninoff, Sergei (1922). Suite No.1. Moscow: A. Gutheil. OCLC 17395266. 

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