Ever notice this about Rachmaninov's own recordings?

Hi Everybody,

I was listening to the piano recordings of Rachmaninov playing his own works. I listened today at very high volume, also adjusting equalizer levels to try to approximate today’s type of sound. Did you know what I found? Rachmaninov hums along to his playing almost as much as Glenn Gould does, and you can also hear him breathing quite loudly when the music gets passionate! Also, when adjusting the sound, which frankly might have been better done in the first place by the recording engineers, a much more formidable picture of Rachmaninov’s sound and pianistic vigor emerges. I like to think that the early RCA transfers were simply botched with horrible sound.


Yep! I noticed it too. It’s rather entertaining. Check out his Gnomenreigen! He practically Oscar Peterson’s that shit.

Oh wow, just listened to it now! What an unusual interpretation! So many huge liberties, and yet with such a consistent emphasis on the downbeat. And, his humming is here too, throughout! Thanks for this suggestion.

it’s eccentricities like this that i have to admit i like in alot of the so called ‘golden age’ pianists… their playing and personality both had so much character… now more often than not, people seem to have no soul

This is true-- pianists might be more accurate in giving a literal, xerox-reading of the score these days, but weren’t these pianists who took huge liberties back then in fact closer to the day and traditions of the times of those pieces they played? Rachmaninov, for example, took huge liberties with his own scores, and every account of most great pianist-composers playing their own music remarked similarly. I suppose at least two factors come into play: the sterility encouraged in the recording studio these days, and which is market driven; the second is that most performers are in the re-creative mode of art instead of the mode of creation. Today, we think we know exactly how Appassionata should go because we’ve heard it all of our lives. However, when it was first performed, there were no such successions of traditions. Walking onto stage and presenting that as music that had never been heard before must have been a truly mind-bendind experience.