"Vocalise" is a song by Sergei Rachmaninoff, composed and published in 1915 as the last of his 14 Songs or 14 Romances, Op. 34. Written for high voice (soprano or tenor) with piano accompaniment, it contains no words, but is sung using any one vowel of the singer's choosing (see also vocalise). It was dedicated to soprano Antonina Nezhdanova.
Although the original publication stipulates that the song may be sung by either soprano or tenor voice, it is usually performed by a soprano. It is sometimes transposed into a variety of keys, allowing performers to choose a vocal range more suitable to their natural voice, so that artists who may not have the higher range of a soprano can perform the song.
Performed by Roxana Pavel Goldstein (violin) and Monica Goldstein (piano)
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"Vocalise" has been arranged for many different instrument combinations. Examples are:
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- for orchestra, arranged by Rachmaninoff himself, also by Morton Gould, Kurt Sanderling
- for soprano and orchestra, also by Rachmaninoff himself
- for choir and orchestra, arranged by Norman Luboff
- for flute and orchestra, arranged by Charles Gerhardt
For chamber ensemble
- for piano trio (violin, cello and piano), arranged by the Eroica Trio
- for jazz ensemble, arranged by Don Sebesky
For solo instrument and piano
- for alto flute and piano, arranged by James Guthrie
- for clarinet and piano, arranged by Stanley Drucker
- for trumpet and piano, arranged by Romain Leleu
- for trombone and piano, arranged by Christian Lindberg
- for euphonium and piano, arranged by Steven Mead
- for violin and piano, arranged by Jascha Heifetz
- for cello and piano, arranged by Anatoliy Brandukov
- for cello and piano, arranged by Jascha Heifetz and Mstislav Rostropovich
- for cello and piano, arranged by Raphael Wallfisch
- for double bass and piano, arranged by Stuart Sankey
- for double bass and piano, arranged by Oscar G. Zimmerman (in D minor)
- for saxophone and piano, arranged by John Harle
- for horn and piano, transcribed by Himie Voxman
- for bassoon and piano, arranged by Leonard Sharrow (in C minor)
- for theremin and piano, arranged by Clara Rockmore
- for flute and piano, arranged by Robert Stallman
For solo instrument
- for solo piano, many arrangements, including by Alexander Siloti, Alan Richardson (1951), Zoltán Kocsis, Earl Wild, Sergio Fiorentino
- for double bass, arranged by Gary Karr
- for guitar, arranged by Slash
- for saxophone, arranged by Larry Teal
- for theremin, arranged by Thorwald Jørgensen
- for trumpet, arranged by Rolf Smedvig
- for two pianos, arranged by Vitya Vronsky
- for electronic instruments, arranged by Isao Tomita
- for cello with voice, arranged by Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma
The Pet Shop Boys song "Happiness Is an Option" on their 1999 album Nightlife incorporates a large portion of the "Vocalise" melody in each verse, performed on oboe as background material beneath the spoken text.
- "What's new on Sergei Rachmaninoff's 'Vocalise'". G. Henle Verlag. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- Mclennan, Pam (8 July 2014). "Thorwald Jørgensen: Good Vibrations Make the Music (+Video)". Epoch Times. Retrieved 2 April 2015.