Rachmaninoff [Rakhmaninov, Rachmaninov], Serge [Sergey] (Vasil′yevich)
- Geoffrey Norris
(b Oneg, 20 March/April 1, 1873; d Beverly Hills, CA, March 28, 1943). Russian composer, pianist and conductor. He was one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, the last great representative of Russian late Romanticism. The influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and other Russian composers soon gave way to a thoroughly personal idiom, with a pronounced lyrical quality, expressive breadth, structural ingenuity and a palette of rich, distinctive orchestral colours.
There remains some debate about the exact place of Rachmaninoff’s birth. A case has been made for Semyonovo (Bryantseva, 1969), but Rachmaninoff himself always thought he was born at Oneg in the Novgorod region, and other evidence indicates that that was probably the case. According to the Old Style calendar, he was born on 20 March 1873, yielding 1 April as the New Style date; but after emigrating from Russia in ...