A salute to Rachmaninoff's birthday and the arrival of April
It's Rachmaninoff's birthday -- April 1, 1873 -- and that's a good enough reason for me to post a little salute.
I've said before on this blog that I do not understand why the composer is dismissed as inferior by otherwise sensible folks, but, as the old song goes, they're more to be pitied than censured. Personally, I can't get enough of the guy's distinctive lyricism. And, since this April 1st in Baltimore happens to be simply gorgeous, with the sun lighting up blooms spring everywhere, I thought of Rachmaninoff's song "Lilacs."
Being horticulturally challenged, I have no idea when lilacs come out, but that's not as important as the sentiment of the song (text by Beketova), which is about drinking in the fragrance of the flowers and contemplating the promise of true happiness. I found a clip of the divine Jussi Bjorling singing an English version of the song.
Rachmaninoff made a transcription for solo piano of "Lilacs," and I've attached a performance of that version played exquisitely by Evgeny Kissin at a very tender age: