Max Derrickson

Writing Music Program Notes for Over 20 Years

Ravel – Piano Concerto in G

(Joseph) Maurice Ravel     (b Cibourne, Basses-Pyrénées, March 7, 1875; dParis, December 28, 1937) Piano Concerto in G 1. Allegramente 2. Adagio assai 3. Presto Maurice Ravel is considered one of France’s foremost Impressionist composers, but classifications can be slippery.  His distinctive Piano Concerto in G, completed in 1931, for instance, defies this classification as much as […]

Ravel – Pavane pour une infante defunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess)

Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937) Pavane for a Dead Princess [. . .] Pavane pour une infante defunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess) was commissioned of the 24 year old Ravel in 1899 as a somewhat whimsical salon piece for piano and premiered in 1902 by Ricardo Vines to much acclaim.  The composer was a […]

Ravel – Mother Goose Suite (Ma Mère L’Oye)

Maurice Joseph Ravel (1875-1937) Mother Goose Suite (Ma Mère L’Oye) Ravel’s  creations are an entire texture of sound; you are entitled to a grand view of the scene, sensing the temperature of the air, the smell of the wind, perceiving the shadings of light, and feeling the texture of the ground beneath your bare feet. Ravel […]

Ravel – Bolero

(Joseph) Maurice Ravel      (b Cibourne, Basses-Pyrénées, March 7, 1875; d Paris, December 28, 1937) Boléro Boléro was commissioned by the dancer and choreographer Ida Rubinstein, formerly associated with the Ballet Russe, for her own troupe’s 1927-28 ballet season.  Initially she wanted Ravel to orchestrate some Spanish piano pieces by Chabrier, but that project ran […]

Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 2 in C-Minor, Op. 18

Sergey Vasilievich Rachmaninoff     (b in Semyonovo, Russia, 1873; d in Beverly Hills,CA, 1943) Piano Concerto No. 2 in C-Minor, Op. 18 1. Moderato 2. Adagio sostenuto – Più animato – Tempo I 3. Allegro scherzando Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 may be the most popular piano concerto ever written, but its opening tells a […]

Rachmaninoff – Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 43

Sergey Vasilievich Rachmaninoff     (b Semyonovo, Russia, April 1, 1873; d Beverly Hills,CA, March 28, 1943) Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 43 Rachmaninoff was a pupil of Tchaikovsky’s at the Moscow Conservatory beginning in 1881, and his admiration for the master directed his musical path throughout his career.  Even unto his death in 1943, […]

Rachmaninoff – Symphony No. 2 in E-minor, op. 27

Sergei Rachmaninov     (b Oneg (Russia), April 1, 1873; d Beverly Hills,CA, March 28, 1943) Symphony No. 2 in E-minor, op. 27 1. Largo– Allegro moderato 2. Allegro molto 3. Adagio 4. Allegro vivace Sergei Rachmaninov was perhaps the finest and most acclaimed among the Russian pianists, conductors and composers.  Nevertheless,Russia’s political upheavals, from WWI and […]

Puccini – E lucevan le stele from Act III of Tosca (1900)

Giaccomo Puccini (1856-1924) E lucevan le stele from Act III of Tosca (1900) “And the stars were shining…” (E lucevan le stele…) begins this heartbreaking aria by Mario Cavaradossi, a painter and revolutionary, as he pines for his lover while awaiting his probable death at the hands of the despicable Baron Scarpia.  He is pining for Floria Tosca, […]