Best Rhapsodies of the World
Greek word “rhapsodia” came in professional European music in the XIX century and began to mean major one-part composition. Composers usually select bright, beautiful and contrasting themes and arrange them in virtuosic concert style.
One of the most significant compositions by Rachmaninoff is his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. 24 variations on well-known theme of Caprices by Paganini can be called his Fifth Piano Concerto. The premiere took place at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, on November 7, 1934. The author played the piano part accompanied by Philadelphia Orchestra led by Leopold Stokovsky. This Theme of Paganini was used by Liszt, Brahms and later Lloyd Webber, however, Rhapsody by Rachmaninoff is the most well-known and even more popular than the original.
In 1924 the performance of one of the best composer’s work Rhapsody in Blue for piano and symphony orchestra took place. The author himself played the piano part. New composition aroused profound interest in American music society. The Rhapsody highlighted Gershwin’s ingenious melodic talent, “original sense of harmony” and “rhythmic invention”.
There are four movements in Spanish Rhapsody by Ravel: the first – “Prelude to the night”, the second and the third – Spanish dances – Malaguena and Habanera, final – Feria – the picture of people’s holiday. The music is full of colours of Spanish nature, is distinguished by vivid orchestration.
Creation of Oriental Rhapsody (1889) reflects interest to the East not only typical of Glazunov, but of many Russian composers of that time as well. “Incredibly wide range, inspiration, wonderful beauty, splendid fantasy, sometimes humour, elegy, passion, and always amazing clarity and freedom of form” became apparent in Glazunov’s rhapsody.
Valery Grokhovsky – laureate of the F. Busoni International Competition in Bolzano, Italy (1989) and of the International Pianists’ Competition in Cincinnati (1990). Since 1991 – Professor of Texas University in San-Antonio. He has worked in the US as a tutor and gave international master-classes within 10 years. Since 2001 he has started touring throughout USA, Europe, and Russia. Musicians and journalists all over the world say that Valery Grokhovsky manages to speak two languages – of classics and jazz – fluently and “without accent”. He released more than 20 CDs with classical and jazz music, wrote soundtracks to the movies “Contemplators” (USA), “Aphrodisia” (France), “My Gradiva” (Russia – USA).
Armen Babakhanian – a prize-winner of the International Competitions, among which the Van Cliburn, the Guardian Dublin, the William Kappell (USA), etc. He gave recitals in the USA, Canada, Japan, the UK, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and Spain.