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A creditable biography of the composer-pianist, this is a rather remote piece of writing which extends itself to exposition over interpretation. However, the authors do give a view of Rachmaninoff's early family background, follow him to Moscow and Zverev and Tschatkovsky, and continue to trace his steps around Europe and in America to the last footfall. Perhaps the most rewarding part of the book, which considers his works as they come but does not analyze them fully, is the inclusion of numerous letters -- to the Satins, to the mysterious ""Re"", to colleagues and friends. We have a view of the music and theatre world as the composer enjoys the friendship of Chekov and Chaliapin, conducts at the Bolshol Theatre of records with Kreisler in later years. Rachmaninoff's fears and general personality are touched upon but not probed. Definitely for devotees. Thoroughly documented.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1955
Publisher: New York University Press