Ailleurs – Rachmaninov Piano Works







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In Ailleurs, Matthieu Bergheau performs three of Rachmaninov’s greatest solo piano works: his two Piano Sonatas and his Corelli Variations. 2023 marks the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninov’s birth and Bergheau pays very personal tribute to the composer with this release. Matthieu Bergheau’s love of the piano was ignited by Rachmaninov. Initially self-taught, Bergheau went on to win numerous international competitions and is familiar to many on social media for his videos, which have garnered millions of views and have been featured by Classic FM. Ailleurs translates loosely as ‘Somewhere Else’, alluding to the different places in which Rachmaninov composed these works. Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No. 1 was originally conceived as a programmatic work inspired by Goethe’s Faust, and although he eventually decided against labelling the work, its inspiration is audible in elements of the music: this is an expansive and complex sonata on a symphonic scale. The Second Sonata plunges us into a turbulent and harmonically rich soundworld. The outer sections of the second movement possess a wistful chromaticism that is remarkably similar to that of Debussy and Ravel, and the finale is a fireworks display of dazzling technique and full-throated passion. Rachmaninov’s final original solo piano work was the fascinating Variations on a Theme of Corelli, dedicated to the great violinist Fritz Kreisler. The theme is based on the famous ‘La folia’ tune, an ancient and widespread melody used in numerous sets of variations and in Corelli’s Violin Sonata No. 12. Bergheau brings his characteristic passion and skill to these pieces, celebrating Rachmaninov’s uniquely inventive pianism in his anniversary year.


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