Although Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943) was one of the great pianists of the 20th century, and a successful conductor as well, it is primarily as a composer that he is remembered today. The spiritual descendant of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff remained aloof from the new modes of expression that characterized 20th century music, and is often referred to as the last composer of the Romantic era.
To conclude our brief look at Rachmaninoff’s music, Emil Gilels (1916 – 1985), another of the 20th century’s great pianists, gives a stirring performance of one of his most romantic works, the Prelude Op. 23 No. 5, which dates from 1901.