Music for Motivation and Mind #3

romantic piano music

Welcome back to this month’s instalment of Music for Motivation and Mind. Laura here bringing you another two favourites, this time by Russian Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (b.1873 – 1943). If you’re looking for a beautiful Romantic Piano Concerto or two to listen to, then look no further.

Rachmaninoff was one of the last representatives of Russian late Romanticism and some writers have even cited his late works show traits of modernism. (This was the main premise for my dissertation and it’s lengthy so I won’t bore you with the details!) But much of his work beautifully demonstrates the gorgeous sonorities, textures and melodies so typical of the Romantic period in western music. If you’d like to read more about his life and music, The New Grove Russian Masters 2 is a great book on four Russian composers including Rachmaninoff.

But on to the music!

The 2nd and 3rd Piano Concertos are probably two of my favourite piano pieces of all time. Hopefully you’ll see why once you listen. The passionate sweeping melodies and rich, contrasting textures of these two pieces are probably why I say this.

So have a listen to them both below, in a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed. And if you get the niggling feeling that you recognise the tune in the 2nd slow movement of the 2nd concerto, it’s because you do. The 70s song ‘All By Myself’ by Eric Carmen, more popularly sung by Celine Dion, sampled the melody.


Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto: The 2nd movement starts at 11:35 and the tune to ‘All by Myself’ can be heard at 12:52 and 13:27.

Anna Fedorova has also recorded his 3rd Piano Concerto and the link can be found here:

But I wanted to share the recording of Vladimir Horowitz for the 3rd piano concerto who was hailed not just by audiences and critics, but by composers of who’s works he performed for his tone colour, understanding of the full possibilities of the piano, and his altered versions of their compositions (which at the time was mostly unheard of as the composer’s word and text was likened to that of God’s in music.)

Here he is at age 75 in 1978 playing the 3rd Concerto:

Rachmanioff 3rd Piano Concerto: Horowitz

I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to Rachmaninoff’s romantic Piano Concerto 2 and 3. There are so many other by Rachmaninoff I can recommend, so if you liked these, have a listen to his other piano concertos, symphony no. 2 in addition to his whole host of piano works.

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Music for Motivation and Mind #1
Music for Motivation and Mind #2
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