Day 325 of Colourisation Project – March 28
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
Best known for his dazzling virtuosity, Sergei Rachmaninoff was a legendary Russian composer and pianist, who emigrated to the United States after the Communist revolution of 1917 and went on to become one of the most influential pianists of the 20th century.
Born in 1873, he was one of the last connections between 19th century romanticism and the modernity of the 20th century. Some of his better known works include Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Piano Concerto No. 2, Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and the symphonies The Isle of the Dead and The Bells.
At six foot-six inches tall (1.98m), Rachmaninoff was an imposing figure. His hands could strike a thirteenth on the keyboard; that’s a hand span of approximately twelve inches! Rachmaninoff stood as a towering figure in more ways than one, having established himself as one of the 20th century’s greatest virtuosi through his concerts and recordings.
His concert performances were legendary and he quickly rose to become one of the highest paid concert stars. Touring continuously until his death, he played over one thousand concerts in America alone between 1918 and 1943. Rachmaninoff’s legacy as a pianist and recording artist lives on in the more than one hundred recordings he made.
Sergei Rachmaninoff died on this day, March 28, 1943, in Beverly Hills, California, just a few days before his 70th birthday. He was later interred in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.
Reportedly, on his death bed, he insisted he could hear music in the distance. After repeated assurances that was not the case, he remarked: “Then it is in my head.”
For your enjoyment today, I leave you with Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 recorded in 1929 by RCA Victor with Rachmaninoff’s favorite orchestra; the Philadelphia Orchestra.