As a fluent pianist, I work to find a proper grasp of the musical language of any piece I play. This prelude can easily sound dense, noisy and inaccessible, even in a solid technical performance with all the notes played accurately. In order to communicate its glorious, soaring, virtuoso, post-romantic story intelligibly, all intricate harmonies and contrapuntal lines must be clear and logical. Rachmaninov did not write atonally – there are no “wrong notes” in his music – but his very rich tonality (and rhythm too sometimes) can be extremely intricate and involved.

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