It’s Valentine’s Day, yawn, a holiday I usually ignore as to the best of my ability, much to my boyfriend’s approval. It was great in grade school when it meant “be mine” candy hearts and mini Snoopy cards, but now it just seems like a cue from corporate manipulators to spend spend spend. It’s not that I lack feeling. I like puppies, kittens, and hugs just like the next gal. It’s just, in my book, it has morphed into a Hallmark affair…and an excuse for consumption.
Well, I am jumping on the band wagon to capitalize on the day as well, use it as an excuse to bow to one of the most romantic composers who ever lived: Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff.
Some of you may be aware at how much contemporary music has ripped Sergi off in songs that ache with joy or grief. For those of you who do not, here are three samples to get you started.
This first is a short nod, the beginning of Charles Mingus’ “All the Things You Are in C # Minor”. Mingus interpreted the popular love song of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II from the 40’s (All the Things You Are) and tagged on the opening strains of Sergi’s “Prelude in C Sharp Minor” as a heart heavy start (a precursor to sampling?). I fell in love with the Mingus recording because of this intro, not yet aware of its origins until years later.
Let’s move chronologically. Next is Eric Carmen’s 1975 power ballad “All By Myself” and Rachmaninoff ’s “Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18 in C Minor, 2nd Movement”. Clearly from this youtube link, I am not the first person to discover this “homage” to the Russian composer. Again, I knew the imitation before learning of its source. To his credit, Carmen admits he stole it, I mean, honored Sergi with the musical plagiarism.
And last for my purposes, let’s move to 2001 and rockers Muse’s “Space Dementia”. You guessed it; another lift from our friend Rachmaninoff, this time the "Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18, in C Minor, 1st Movement". Here is a good video that actually mashes it up at the end.
Those are just three. There are a more to explore.
So I ask…Sergi, will you be my valentine?
Kristen Persinos, Marketing Director