Sergei Rachmaninoff was an example of one of the great “types” in the history of classical music: the virtuoso performer who was also an important composer. And indeed he was one of the greatest examples of this type, because both his performing and his composing activities were on the highest level. During his time, in fact, Rachmaninoff was considered by many to be nothing less than the greatest pianist in the world—and if you go to YouTube and check out some of the many Rachmaninoff recordings, I think you’ll see why. Unlike many composers who eventually curtailed their performing careers, Rachmaninoff kept up a very busy—actually a punishingly busy—concert schedule. But his gifts were such that despite such a schedule, not to mention struggles with serious emotional problems, Rachmaninoff managed to compose works that will be played and sung for as long as people are still playing and singing.
A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.