Sergey Rachmaninoff

About Sergey Rachmaninoff's Concertos

Rachmaninoff was only 18 years old when he composed his first piano concerto, the summer of 1891. The premiere took place the following year at the Moscow Conservatoire, with Rachmaninoff himself playing the solo part.

Five years later, he witnessed the disastrous premiere of his Symphony no.1, with a drunk conductor: "At times, I covered my ears to block out my own music, whose dissonances were a veritable torture to me". The disaster contributed to a time of depression, lasting until the creation of the second piano concerto, one of Rachmaninoff’s best loved works. It is dedicated to the psychologist Dr. Nikolai Dahl, who had helped him recover his confidence.

Planning a tour of the United States, Rachmaninoff decided to write a third piano concerto, designed to showcase his talents as a pianist. Composed quickly, and rehearsed on a mute keyboard as Rachmaninoff crossed the United States, it requires great virtuosity and has the most complex structure of the concertos.

The fourth concerto in one of the few works composed in the US, where Rachmaninov had moved to avoid the Russian Revolution. After ten years of compositional silence and regular piano recitals, he took up various sketches composed in Russia. The premiere of the resulting concerto was met with little enthusiasm. Rachmaninov revised it 15 years later, making it the last original composition on which he worked.

Preview TitleKey Year Level
Piano Concerto 1 Op. 1  in F-sharp Minor by Rachmaninoff piano sheet music AAB Piano Concerto 1 Op. 120 F-sharp Minor 1892 8+
Piano Concerto 2 Op. 18  in C Minor by Rachmaninoff piano sheet music AAC Piano Concerto 2 Op. 182 C Minor 1901 8+
Piano Concerto 3 Op. 30  in D Minor by Rachmaninoff piano sheet music AAD Piano Concerto 3 Op. 308 D Minor 1909 8+
Piano Concerto 4 Op. 40    in G Minor by Rachmaninoff piano sheet music AAE Piano Concerto 4 Op. 40 24 G Minor 1926 8+
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43    in A Minor by Rachmaninoff piano sheet music AAF Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43 30 A Minor 1934 8+

Forum posts about the Concertos by Sergey Rachmaninoff

Can I attempt a Rachmaninoff concert or I am crazy? by rovis77
Hi, I have been playing for 9 years and I have played many pieces, I can play 5 Chopin etudes, the op 10 1, op 10 12, op 25 12, op 25 1 and ...

Which Rach concerto should I start with first? by 2pac_lives
This is my first post here, it's great to have a community of fellow piano players to talk to. I've been playing since I was 6 and...

Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto w/ Piano Reduction Recording by naumdar
Hi there, I am a new member and look forward to discussing piano with all of you and hoping it will improve my terrible playing ability som...

"Easiest" concerto of Rachmaninoff? by poiuytrewq11zc
Rachmaninoff was known for writing very demanding music, and it is often displayed in his 4 concerti, as well as his Rhapsody on a Theme of ...

Of the four concerti written by Rachmaninoff, which is most difficult to least? by arvhaax93 ranking order? I know it can vary depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the pianist, but a general order would be appreciated. ...