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Too many notes? (Hall of Fame #82)

Emperor Joseph II supposedly made the criticism "too many notes" about one of Mozart's new pieces. I'd love to hear what he thought about Rachmaninoff's music. His third piano concert ranks 82nd in Classic FM's chart (sorry if you were expecting Mozart) and it's full of them. Notes that is.

Never mind the music, it's visually stunning watching Anna Fedorova's hands hammer the keys with such combustible energy. Just watch from about 42:20 to the end if you want to be amazed, and a little bit frightened. I can't imagine the amount of hours of training it takes to get your fingers to do that.

The result is a drama-soaked piece of expression. I imagine Rachmaninoff struggling to decide which colour to paint the master bedroom, and defiantly roaring, "JUST USE ALL OF THEM!" That seems to be the compositional approach. Sometimes the speed and mixture of colours is so intense it threatens to turn the whole thing brown. It took me a while to get used to it, and I enjoyed the second and third movements more than the first. Like when you read a dense book - the first pages can be a slog but somehow you adapt after that.

If you scrolled this far and you like piano music that's heavy on notes, I'd recommend hearing Hiromi. She's a jazz player, but there's a lot of overlap between her performance here and Anna Fedorova's above.

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