Rachmaninov: an introduction

Course Dates: 19/01/23 - 16/02/23
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: Keeley Street
The train whistles past the camera in the opening scene of Brief Encounter (1945) and we hear the opening bars of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto – an iconic film that made this already wildly popular piece even more successful. But what of the work’s composer, who had died just two years before? We trace the turbulent career of this virtuoso musician.
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Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00

This course has now started

Course Code: MD703B

Full Thu, day, 19 Jan - 16 Feb '23

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was a brilliant virtuoso pianist whose career was shaped by two major events: the catastrophic failure of his First Symphony in 1897, and the necessity of leaving his home country in 1917 in the wake of the Russian Revolution. In these five sessions explore some of his best-loved compositions and the circumstances of their creation.

What will we cover?

- The shape of Rachmaninoff’s early training and career, and his first printed compositions, including the piano Prelude in C sharp minor Op.3 no. 2
- The failure of the First Symphony and its aftermath
- The Second Piano Concerto as a return to creativity and success
- Later Russian works, including songs and orchestral piece
- Relocation to America and last compositions, including the Correlli Variations.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Summarise the biographical details of Rachmaninoff’s life
- List some of his most important compositions
- Outline the details of his performing career
- Identify some of his most characteristic musical devices.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course in intended to be accessible for anyone with an interest in western classical music. We will look at various scores and historical documents during this course but you do not need to read music notation to participate in these activities. All texts will be in English or accompanied by an English translation. Musical scores are all available free online via IMSLP.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

- Sessions will comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study.
- Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
- You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please have a notebook and pen handy for note-taking.
You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.

Katy Hamilton Tutor Website

Dr Katy Hamilton is a freelance researcher, writer and presenter on music. She is fast becoming one of the UK’s most sought-after speakers on music, providing talks for a host of organisations including the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, BBC Proms, Ryedale Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival. In addition, she regularly writes programme notes for the Salzburg Festival, North Norfolk Festival and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3’s Record Review. Katy worked as Graham Johnson’s research assistant for his monumental Franz Schubert: The Songs and their Poets (Yale University Press, 2014) and is co-editor of Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Brahms in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2019). In addition to her research and presentation work, Katy has taught at the Royal College of Music, City Lit, the University of Nottingham and Middlesex University, working with students in performance workshops and music history classes. She has been teaching Music History courses at City Lit since 2015. She is also Public Events Programmer at the Foundling Museum in central London.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.