Performance Diary: About the project
Sergei Rachmaninoff Performance Diary: About this project
In the Performance Diary, all dates of concerts that took place in Russia and later
Russian territories before 1918 are listed in the Julian calendar. Concerts during this
time that took place in Europe and America, however, are listed in the Gregorian
(Western) calendar, and are so indicated. Following Rachmaninoff's emigration to the
West, which roughly corresponds with the demise of the Julian calendar in Russia,
all dates are given in the Western calendar.
A majority of the performance details listed here are compiled from Zarui
Apetian's important research, published in Literaturnoye Nasledie [Collected Literature]
(Sovietskii Kompozitor: Moscow, 1980, vol. 3, pp. 439-467). These details have
been subsequently cross-referenced and checked with the many itineraries and other
corroborating materials collected by Rachmaninoff's sister-in-law, Sophia Satina, housed
in the Satina Archive of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Where there has been
doubt or discrepancy about a concert date or venue, alternative details have been noted.
Zarui Apetian's research records details of Rachmaninoff's recital repertoire in yearly
seasons (typically post-Summer to April / May) from 1909 through 1943. In some of the
earlier and later seasons, Apetian provides details of conducting work and of chamber
music appearances. On the whole, however, the majority of the information relates to
Rachmaninoff's recital and concerto performances.
A feature of the historical research so far is a lack of details concerning exact repertoire
played by Rachmaninoff in his recitals. It is clear from available programs that he
varied the selection of works played while on tour, drawing from his yearly repertoire.
Sophia Satina sought to collect as many programs as possible, hoping to create a
database perhaps similar to the present Performance Diary. Attempts have been made
to record their details here, yet at the present time, sadly, this is not possible. As the
Performance Diary is an ongoing project, it is hoped that any reader with one or more
concert programs might consider sending a PDF or photo to the Rachmaninoff Network
for inclusion on our website.
In Rachmaninoff's earlier seasons, the majority of recital works are his own, while
later recitals contain more works by other composers. In the yearly repertoire listings
that intersperse the 'View Entire Diary' and 'Recital' pages, Rachmaninoff's own
compositions are given first. The works he played of other composers are also listed in
Barrie Martyn's valuable book, Rachmaninoff: Composer, Pianist, Conductor (Scolar
Press: London, 1990), and this information has been incorporated and cross-referenced.
Details of Rachmaninoff's acoustic recording sessions have also been compiled from
Martyn's research (pp. 453-497). Likewise, for his conducting career prior to 1909
(Chronological List of Performances, pp. 532-562). In regard to the recordings, and
in keeping with Martyn's useful codification, the letter "m" indicates that a take was
approved for mastering, those with "m*" were approved but later re-recorded and the
letter "h" indicates a take that was held over for possible release. All of Rachmaninoff's
first 10 recordings for Edison were given release. Later ones, unless indicated, were
recorded by Victor. The recording of the folk song 'Bublichki' that occurred at a private
party during 1933 cannot yet be listed until a more precise date is available.
The details for piano rolls are compiled from notes accompanying Wayne
Stahnke's two CDs entitled A Window in Time [Telarc: CD 80489 and CD80491],
written by Stahnke and Daniel Pollock (1996). The information was later verified with a
photocopy of the recording company's original ledger, kindly supplied by Mr. Stahnke.
Additional information about concerts and first performances of Rachmaninoff works
are compiled from A Catalogue of the Compositions of S. Rachmaninoff by
Robert Threlfall and Geoffrey Norris (Scolar Press: London, 1982), and these details are
indicated by the letters 'T/N' throughout. Sophie Satina's research, which in addition to
programs includes many of Rachmaninoff's original contracts, and letters to and from
both concert halls and newspapers regarding verification of concerts, is indicated by the
letters 'SS.' Where reference is made to programs in the Library of Congress archive,
the letters 'LoC' have been used. Further research into details of Rachmaninoff's earliest
performances was undertaken at the Glinka Museum of Musical Culture, Moscow, and
programs in that archive have also been used to verify dates and to confirm repertoire.
The letters 'GM' reference this data.
There are likely some further concerts given by Rachmaninoff that have not yet been
listed, such as from the aborted tour with violinist Terasina Tua. Given Sophia Satina's
desire to create a complete and permanent record of her brother-in-law's concert career, it
is hoped that the current Performance Diary will grow to become a truly complete record.
In particular, it is hoped that the inclusion of concert programs from throughout his long
and busy career will add further valuable detail, and benefit all who are interested in
studying Rachmaninoff's life.
Sydney, May 2011