About Sergey Rachmaninoff's Works for four hands, six hands, and two pianos
Rachmaninoff’s first works for more than two hands are from his late teens and early twenties, marking his final years at the Moscow Conservatory and first years as a “Free Artist” after graduating.
The Suite for two pianos Op. 17 from 1901 is contemporary with the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor and Rachmaninoff’s return to composition after the failure of his first symphony in 1897, which sent him into a long period of depression and writer’s block.
After the short Italian polka for two pianos from 1906, which was based on a melody Rachmaninoff heard played by an old street organ in Italy, it would take Rachmaninoff over 30 years before he set down another four-handed work - the two-piano version of the Symphonic Dances Op. 45, the last major work he completed before his death.