Rachmaninoff: Vocalise Edited and Arranged for Solo Piano
by Lee Evans
3 page piece
Advanced Piano Solo written by Sergei Rachmaninoff and arranged and edited by Lee Evans
Neo-Romanticism in music generally refers to modern day un-Romantic period music written in a Romantic Era mode; in other words, music composed in modern times but written in heightened emotional expression associated with the 19th century Romantic movement.
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was the quintessential Neo-Romantic composer. At a turn-of-the-century time, say from approximately 1900 on, when many composers’ music was beginning to be written in a highly dissonant manner and often in more than one key at a time or in no key at all (think bitonality, polytonality, atonality), Rachmaninoff walked his own musical path, composing highly tonal and accessible music that greatly spoke to the heart of the player and listener, with fantastically beautiful melodic lines and lush, gorgeous harmonies. While at that time, musical academia and fellow composers denigrated Rachmaninoff for not composing music in more modern style, today his music has mostly out-survived that of most of his detractors and is played and admired worldwide, especially his piano concertos, the Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini (which in all but form is a piano concerto), his Symphony No. 2, and a good deal of his vast repertoire of original solo piano music.
But highly neglected are his many art songs (lieder), music that Rachmaninoff set to poetry. Determined to correct this glaring omission in the keyboard musical literature, I published an album of piano solo arrangements of what I consider to be eleven of his most beautiful and compelling art songs (Rachmaninoff Art Songs Arranged For Solo Piano by Lee Evans, available in print and in SuperScore). Vocalise is one of the works in this album and the only Rachmaninoff song in this collection that is not based on a poem. It is sung on one vowel of the singer’s choosing.
I fervently hope that this arrangement will provide pianists and listeners with the same degree of aesthetic joy and fulfillment that its creation has given me.