Prelude in G minor (Rachmaninoff)

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{
  \new PianoStaff
  <<
    \new Staff
    {
      \autoBeamOff
      \clef bass
      \key g\minor
      \time 4/4
      \tempo "Alla Marcia" 4=108
      \stemDown g8^_ \stemUp <d' bes>16 [ <d' bes> <d' bes>8 ] \stemDown bes,__ d^_ \stemUp <d' bes> \stemDown bes^_ \stemUp <d' bes> |
    }
    \new Dynamics {s8\p s s4 s2}
    \new Staff
    {
      \autoBeamOff
      \clef bass
      \key g\minor
      \time 4/4
      \stemDown <g, g,,>8__ \stemUp <g d>16 [ <g d> <g d>8 ] \stemDown bes,,8__ d,__ \stemUp <g d> \stemDown <bes, bes,,>__ \stemUp <g d> |
    }
  >>
}
The first measure introduces the prelude's idiosyncratic jumps.

Prelude in G minor, Op. 23, No. 5, is a piece of music by Sergei Rachmaninoff, completed in 1901.[1] It was included in his Opus 23 set of ten preludes, despite having been written two years earlier than the other nine. Rachmaninoff himself premiered the piece in Moscow on February 10, 1903, along with Preludes No. 1 and 2 from Op. 23.[1]

Structure

The Prelude's taut structure is in ternary form, consisting of an opening "A" section with punctuated sixteenth-note chords (marked: Alla marcia, march), a more lyrical and melancholy "B" section with sweeping arpeggios in the left hand (marked: Poco meno mosso), a transition into the original tempo, and a recapitulation of the initial march.

The Alla marcia section is in itself in ternary ABA form. Within the first three measures of the Prelude, Rachmaninoff introduces the unifying factors of the piece (notwithstanding the Poco meno mosso section). First, the chordal march of measure one; second, the fragment on the second half of the beat in measure two; third, the fragment on the second half of beat two in measure three.


{
\new PianoStaff
<<
  \new Staff
  {
    \autoBeamOff
    \clef treble
    \key g\minor
    \time 4/4
    <<
      {
        s8 <d' bes>16 [ <d' bes> <d' bes>8 ] s8 s <d' bes> s <d' bes> |
        s <d' bes>16 [ <d' bes> <d' bes>8 ] s r <bes' g'>16 [ <bes' g'> <bes' g'>8 ] r | s
      }
      \\
      {
        g8__ s s s s s bes__ s |
        g__ s s d'16 ( f' g'4._> ) bes16 [( d' ] | \hideNotes e'8 )
      }
    >>
  }
  \new Dynamics { s1 | s8 s s\cresc s\! }
  \new Staff
  {
    \autoBeamOff
    \clef bass
    \key g\minor
    \time 4/4
    <<
      {
        \dynamicUp
        <g, g,,>8__ s s a,16 [ \< ( bes, \! d8^> ) ] s <bes bes,>^_ s |
        <g, g,,>8^_ s s d16 [( f ] <g g,>4.^> ) bes,16 [ ( d ] | \hideNotes e8 )
      }
      \\
      {
        \dynamicDown
        s8 <g d>16 [ <g d> <g d>8 ] a,,16\< [ bes,,\! d,8_> ] <g d>8 s <g d> |
        s8 <g d>16 [ <g d> <g d>8 ] s8 r8 <d' bes d>16 [ <d' bes d> <d' bes d>8 ] s | s
      }
    >>
  }
>>
}
Measures 2 and 3

Measures 1-9 expand on the march theme. Following a cadence in the dominant, the section repeats in measures 10-16 with slight alterations and concludes in a G minor perfect cadence.

The "B" subsection of the Alla marcia section (measures 17-24) mirrors the rhythm of the first measure, presenting a sequence of related chords beginning with E.


{
\new PianoStaff
<<
  \new Staff
  {
    \clef treble
    \time 4/4
    \key g\minor
    <<
      {
        s8 <g'' ees'' bes' g'>16^. [ <g'' ees'' bes' g'>^. <g'' ees'' bes' g'>8^. ] <g' ees' bes g>16^. [ <g' ees' bes g>^. <g' ees' bes g>8^. ] <g'' ees'' bes' g'>8^. s4 |
        s8 <f'' d'' bes' f'>16^. [ <f'' d'' bes' f'>^. <f'' d'' bes' f'>8^. ] <f' d' bes f>16^. [ <f' d' bes f>^. <f' d' bes f>8 ] <f'' d'' bes' f'>8^. s4 |
      }
      \\
      {
        \slurUp
        <bes'' g'' ees'' bes'>8^> s s s s s <bes'' g'' bes'>16 [ ( <c''' c''> <d''' d''> <ees''' ees''> ] |
        <d''' bes'' d''>8^> ) s s s s s <d''' bes'' d''>16 [ ( e''' <f''' f''> g''' ] | \hideNotes a''' )
      }
    >>
  }
  \new Dynamics {s8\f}
  \new Staff
  {
    \clef bass
    \key g\minor
    <<
      {
        s8 <ees' bes g>16^. [ <ees' bes g>^. <ees' bes g>8^. ] <bes, ees,>16^. [ <bes, ees,>^. <bes, ees,>8^. ] <ees' bes g>8^. s4 |
        s8 <d' bes f>16^. [ <d' bes f>^. <d' bes f>8^. ] <bes, bes,,>16^. [ <bes, bes,,>^. <bes, bes,,>8^. ] <d' bes f>8^. s4 |
      }
      \\
      {
        \slurUp
        <g' ees' bes g>8^> s s s s s <bes g>16 ( [ c' d' ees' ] | 
        <d' bes f>8^> ) s s s s s <d' bes f>16 [ ( e' f' g' ] | \hideNotes a' )
      }
    >>
  }
>>
}
Measures 17 and 18

In contrast to the Alla marcia, the "B" section introduces a lyrical chordal melody over an extended arpeggiated figure. Beginning in measure 35, a two-measure phrase is repeated and then serially extended in measures 39-41. A counter melody appears at measure 42 in the middle voice, intensifying the passage.


{
\new PianoStaff
<<
  \new Staff
  {
    \set Score.currentBarNumber = #35
    \clef treble
    \time 4/4
    \key g\minor
    <<
      {
        b'8\rest <a'' fis'' d'' a'>-- ( <a'' fis'' d'' a'>-- <bes'' fis'' d'' bes'>-- <c''' fis'' d'' c''>4-- <bes'' bes'>8 <a'' a'> |
        <g'' g'> <a'' a'> <bes'' bes'>4-- ) <fis'' fis'>-- ( <a'' a'> )
      }
      \\
      {
        s2 s4 <fis'' d''> |
        <ees'' c''>2 <d'' c''>
      }
      \\
      {}
      \\
      {
        \slurUp
        s1 | s2. r8 a16 ( c'~ | \hideNotes c' )
      }
    >>
  }
  \new Dynamics {s8\pp}
  \new Staff
  {
    \clef bass
    \key g\minor
    \times 4/6 {<ees, ees,,>16 a, ( d fis c' d'} \times 4/6 {fis' d' c' fis d a, ) } \times 4/6 {d, ( a, d fis c' d'} \times 4/6 { fis' d' c' fis d a, ) } |
    \times 4/6 {d, ( a, d g c' ees' } \times 4/6 {g' ees' c' g d a,) } \times 4/6 {d, ( a, d fis c' d' } \times 4/6 {fis' d' c' fis d a, ) }
  }
>>
}
Measures 35-36

{
\new PianoStaff
<<
  \new Staff
  {
    \clef treble
    \time 4/4
    \key g\minor
    <<
      {
        r8 <a'' fis''>8-- ( <a'' fis''> <bes'' fis'' d'' bes'> <c''' fis'' d'' c''>4-- <bes'' bes'>8 <a'' a'> )
      }
      \\
      {
        \once \override Tie #'control-points = #'((1 . -3.5) (11 . -7) (21 . -7) (31 . -3.5))
        <c'!~ fis>2 c'8 \change Staff="LeftHand" \stemUp d'^- e'^- fis'^-
      }
      \\
      {}
      \\
      {
        s8 a'16 ( c'' d''4--) s <fis'' d''>4
      }
    >>
  }
  \new Staff = "LeftHand"
  {
    \clef bass
    \key g\minor
    \times 4/6 {d,16 ( a, d fis c' d' } \times 4/6 {fis' d' c' fis d a,) } \slurDown \times 4/6 {d, a, fis d' ( c' fis ) } \times 4/6 {e' ( c' fis ) fis' ( c' fis ) }
  }
>>
}
Measure 42

Following the middle section, the Prelude transitions to a recapitulation of the march section by gradual increases in tempo and dynamics. The section uses of chromatically upward moving chords following embellished diminished seventh figures.


{
\new PianoStaff
<<
  \new Staff
  {
    \clef treble
    \autoBeamOff
    \time 4/4
    \key g\minor
    <<
      {
        \slurDown
        g8^> s s a16 [( bes] d'2_> )
      }
      \\
      {
        s8 <g'' d'' bes' g'>16 [ <g'' d'' bes' g'> <g'' d'' bes' g'>8 ] s g''\rest <d'' bes' g'>16 [ <ees'' bes' g'> ] <ees'' bes' g'> [ <e'' bes' g'> <e'' bes' g'>8 ]
      }
    >>
  }
  \new Dynamics { s8\ff s s s s s16\< s s s s8\! }
  \new Staff = "LeftHand"
  {
    \clef bass
    \autoBeamOff
    \key g\minor
    <<
      {
        <g, g,,>8^> s s a,16 ( [ bes, ] <d d,>2^> )
      }
      \\
      {
        s8 <d' bes g d>16 [ <d' bes g d> <d' bes g d>8] s8 r8 <d' bes g>16 [ <ees' bes g> ] <ees' bes g> [ <e' bes g> <e' bes g>8]
      }
    >>
  }
>>
}
Measure 72

Finally, the piece ends in a highly original way: a short arpeggiated run to a high G, marked pianissimo.



{
\new PianoStaff
<<
  \new Staff
  {
    \clef bass
    \autoBeamOff
    \time 4/4
    \key g\minor
    r8 g,16 [ ( a, ] bes, [ d a, d ] <g bes,> [ d g ) g ( ] bes [ d' a d' ] | \clef treble \hideNotes g'' )
  }
  \new Dynamics { s8-\markup{\dynamic "pp" \italic{leggiero}} }
  \new Staff = "LeftHand"
  {
    \clef bass
    \autoBeamOff
    \key g\minor
    a,,8 r r <d, a,,> r d16 ( [ e fis8] )
  }
>>
}
Measure 84

Recordings

Emil Gilels played this prelude at a front in World War II, in support for the Soviet military forces fighting in the war. The narrator says (in Russian): "Gilels is playing at the front, to remind us what the war is worth fighting for: Immortal music!"[2]

Beau Pluto recorded this piece as part of his album Liberation, and released it as the third single together with a music video that was uploaded on YouTube on 21 April 2017. The video begins with Pluto performing the track at a grand piano and shows various scenes fused with elements of performance art and horror which show Pluto visually expressing the emotions of the music in front of an army of mannequins.[3][4]

This prelude is one of the most performed and recorded pieces of the Op. 23 set.

References

  1. ^ a b Norris, Geoffrey (1993). Rachmaninoff. Schirmer Books. p. 170. 
  2. ^ "Gilels - Prelude Op 23 No 5 - Rachmaninoff". YouTube. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "Beau Pluto - Prélude". imdb. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 
  4. ^ "(piano video)". YouTube. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 

External links


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