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Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18

It is 1897 and the catastrophic premiere of Rachmaninov’s First Symphony leads its author, harassed by detractors, to a neurasthenic mental state. Three years later Rachmaninov is still recovering from the residual effects of this crisis: he suffers from writer’s block, failing to write one single chord of music. Not even the visit he pays to Leon Tolstoy can help him. On the contrary, it worsens his situation, exacerbating his senses of culpability and inferiority. He is in despair, and when it is proposed to him to meet a neurologist, Dr. Dahl, he accepts without a second thought. Prominent Dr Nicolas Dahl starts his therapy with a hypnotic suggestion. He mumbles softly beside the great composer’s ear, in some sort of dream state, the refrain “You will begin to write your concerto… You will work with great facility… The concerto will be of an excellent quality”. The result was prodigious! As if it had started to write itself, thus was born Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2.   

Browse recordings of Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18

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As if it were a personal diary, this concerto follows the Russian composer’s emotional evolution during his work’s composition. In a process of mise en abyme, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 consists of three movements that narrates a profound depression’s healing stages. They describe, in order: Rachmaninov’s psychological trauma and his inner torment;  the awakening of hope in the second movement’s Adagio sostenuto; at the end, the joy of living’s triumph and the celebration of all that is most beautiful, music itself! Made famous by Céline Dion, the hit song All by Myself was inspired by the melody from the Adagio sostenuto and showcased the appealing empathy of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto to the greatest degree. Come and be transported by one of the most intimate and touching compositions ever written, on medici.tv!