Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (April 1, 1873 – March 28, 1943) was
a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor.
While his reputation as composer only came later in life, Rachmaninoff's
skill as pianist was well-known and highly respected; he often performed his
own works as soloist. He was one of the greatest pianists of his generation,
having legendary technical facilities and rhythmic drive, and his large
hands were able to cover a an interval of twelfth on the piano. Many
recordings were made by the Victor Talking Machine Company recording label
of him performing own music as well as works from the standard repertoire.
His compositions include, among others, four piano concertos, three
symphonies, two piano sonatas, a choral symphony (The Bells, based on
the poem by Edgar Allan Poe), a setting of the Vespers and many songs. Most
of his pieces are in a late Romantic style akin to Tchaikovsky, although
strong influences of Chopin and Liszt are apparent. Further inspiration
included the music of Rimsky-Korsakov, Balakirev, Mussorgsky, Medtner and