Sergey Rachmaninov

Morceaux de salon, for piano, Op. 10

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Rachmaninov composed these seven Salon pieces beginning probably in the latter half of December 1893 and finished them by early February 1894. The style of them is varied, coming early enough in his career for some to sound immature or derivative in certain passages.

    The first, Nocturne in A minor, is Tchaikovskyan in its themes and reminiscent of Chopin in its writing. It does feature Rachmaninov's trademark melancholy, however. The next piece, Valse in A, may be marginally superior, but still not of great interest. Here the influence of Chopin can also be heard, and while the music is pleasant and colorful enough, it is not particularly distinctive.

    The third, Barcarolle in G minor, is probably the best known piece in the set. It features an attractive and typically melancholy, Russian melody, with nervous-sounding accompaniment that imparts a haunting atmosphere. Mélodie in E minor follows, and offers an appealing theme, with arpeggiated chordal accompaniment of some interest. No. 5, the Humoresque in G, is bright and features one of those stately Rachmaninovian themes. Overall, however, the music is not memorable, though the composer liked it and played it frequently. He made minor revisions to it in 1940.

    The Romance in F minor that follows is sweet and attractive but overlong and not among the better entries here. The closing piece, Mazurka in D flat, is more appealing on just about every level. While it ultimately is not a great masterpiece, it is colorful and contains humor, not an ingredient one often finds in Rachmaninov. The music is not derivative, despite the fact that its form is taken from Chopin. There are many unexpected thematic and harmonic surprises throughout, and the bright mood and colors are most engaging.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Nocturne in A minor
    2. Valse in A major
    3. Barcarolle in G minor
    4. Melodie in E minor/major
    5. Humoresque in G major
    6. Romance in F minor
    7. Mazurka in D flat major

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2017
    Piano Classics
    PCL 0123
    2017
    IBA [Idil Biret Archives]
    8501065
    2017
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 17032
    2016
    Piano Classics
    PCLM 0111
    2016
    Odradek
    ODRBOX 01
    2014
    Odradek
    ODRCD 315
    2014
    Decca
    2014
    Decca
    4786348
    2014
    Decca
    4786765
    2013
    Decca
    4782939
    2013
    Decca
    2012
    EtCetera Records
    KTC 1454
    2012
    Et'Cetera / EtCetera Records
    ETC 1450
    2011
    Musical Concepts
    MC198
    2006
    SOMM
    48
    2005
    Naxos
    8552113-14
    2004
    Classical Accordion CD
    lips1
    2000
    Naxos
    8501005
    1999
    Naxos
    553004
    1997
    Arabesque
    6685
    1993
    Sony Music Distribution
    48468
    1993
    Hyperion
    44041/8
    1988
    Hyperion
    CDA66184
    Classical Records
    059