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Sergey Vasilyevich Rachmaninov

Sergey Vasilyevich Rachmaninov Composer

Kreisler: Liebesfreud

Performances: 17
Tracks: 17
  • Kreisler: Liebesfreud
    Year: 1925
    Genre: Other Keyboard
    Pr. Instrument: Piano
Rachmaninov made two transcriptions of works by Kreisler, Liebeslied (1931) and Liebesfreud. Both are light pieces and full of charm, and both display more of Rachmaninov's highly individual musical persona than of Kreisler's charming but lesser one. The Kreisler originals were violin and piano, but are less caloric in texture and less challenging for the performers, too. In this transcription of Liebesfreud—and these comments apply in general to Liebeslied, as well—Rachmaninov alters the harmonies, beefs up the sonic character of the music, creates a new introduction and coda, but still manages to capture the light and charming spirit of the Kreisler piece. Liebesfreud is the more popular and lengthy of the two Rachmaninov/Kreisler works, having a duration of about seven minutes, as compared with the five or so of Liebeslied. It begins with a colorful and muscular introduction in big chords, after which the charming Kreisler theme is playfully rendered. Thereafter, Rachmaninov gives this jaunty theme a variety of brilliant and colorful treatments, not always following Kreisler's lead. Much of the writing contrasts the bold and splashy—as in the thrilling ending—with the delicate and gossamer, as in much of the central part of the piece.

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