Concerto Élégiaque

“One of the finest recordings Jarvi and the Detroit Symphony have given us … Kogosowski has recreated the very special orchestral sound of Rachmaninoff … Echos of the Third Concerto, the Third Symphony and the Symphonic Dances come to mind … This record immediately goes to the very top of my ‘Best of the Year’ list.”

Stephen Haller, American Record Guide

Highly respected pianist Alan Kogosowski has recast the Trio Elegiaque and recreated the special piece Rachmaninoff intended as an elegy to his mentor and friend. This piece, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 5, was recorded by Neeme Järvi and the Detroit Symphony and was named Best Recording of the Year in 1994 by the American Record Guide.

Concerto Background

Rachmaninoff  wrote the Trio Elegiaque after the death of his mentor, Tchaikovsky, in November 1893. “[His death] was a great blow to me,” Rachmaninoff wrote in his Recollections. “I lost not only a fatherly friend who had set me an example as a musician, which, consciously and unconsciously, I had always followed, but also a helpful and energetic patron of my young but steadily growing musical activities, a loyal supporter and faithful adviser who I needed badly for my first faltering steps in the world of music.”

During that time, Rachmaninoff was only 20 and had just left the Moscow Conservatory for a year. But he had already composed the Prelude in C-sharp Minor, which would carry his name around the world. Were it not for Tchaikovsky’s death, Rachmaninoff’s growing fame might have increased beyond all bounds. The Trio Elegiaque, written for piano, violin and cello, celebrated the memory of Tchaikovsky, just as Tchaikovsky had paid homage to his mentor, the pianist Nicholas Rubinstein, in his Piano Trio in A minor, 12 years earlier, in 1881.

The Elegiac trio, written while Rachmaninoff was “tormented and sick at heart,” spills over with the honest sentiments of youth. It was revised twice, in 1907 and 1917, which made it more compact. However, it did not make it more suitable for chamber music.

Alan has gone to the heart of the matter, following the text of the 1893 trio and recasting the work for piano and orchestra. For the most part, he has taken the piano part verbatim, except where it seemed that this was more orchestral than pianistic. In these instances he has assigned the piano’s lines to the orchestra, with the piano itself contributing decorative filigree.


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