Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Turn of the 20th Century > Symphony No. 2 in E Minor - Rachmaninov
Symphony No. 2 in E Minor
1. Allegro moderato.
2. Allegro molto.
4. Allegro vivace.
Rachmaninov's Second Symphony was first performed at Moscow, in 1908, and in the United States in the following year. After a long introduction, which is the foundation of the movement, it opens with a theme, givien out by the violins. The second theme is divided between the woodwinds and strings. The development begins with the first theme for solo violin in augmentation. The recapitulation introduces the first theme in the violins, the second theme somewhat changed, and a Coda closes the movement.
The second movement begins at once with a theme for the horns, continued in the violins. After this material is worked out, a new theme of a delightfully melodious character appears in the violins. The Trio is begun in the second violins, imitated by first violins, and followed by a strongly marked passage in the brasses, cymbals, and tambourines, with a beautiful effect in the violins and the woodwinds. The opening and second subjects reappear and a reference to the introduction to the first movement brings the second to its close.
The third movement is a majestic Adagio, opening with a theme in the first violins, followed by a second passage in the clarinet and a third in the first violins, followed by a second passage in the clarinet and a third in first violins and oboe. The middle section of the movement introduces the main theme of the introduction, which is treated in combination with the opening theme of the Adagio. Recapitulation of all this matter follows.
In the last movement, a short fortissimo introduced leads to the main theme, which is closely developed. It is followed by a subject in march rhythm in the woodwinds, after which the main theme returns. The second subject is given out in octaves by the strings. There is a most elaborate development out of this material. After recapitulation, a brilliant Coda brings the work to its close.