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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Turn of the 20th Century > Symphonic Poem, "Die Toteninsel" - Rachmaninov

Symphonic Poem, "Die Toteninsel"

Sergei Rachmaninov

"Die Toteninsel" ("The Isle of Death") is based upon Boecklin's famous painting of the same name and was written in 1909. It begins with a slow and mournful phrase in the harps with accompaniment in muted strings and kettle drums, followed by a figure in the cellos, which imitates the wash of the water as it breaks upon the strand of the Isle of Death. A theme follows in horns, which is also heard in other parts of the poem. After various episodes in the strings and horn, a climax is reached, in which a majestic theme is surrounded by the brasses. As it subsides, a new section of the work introduces a new theme in the strings, worked up to a climax. A figure next appears in the second violins with accompaniment of harp and cellos. A phrase for oboe leads to a suggestion of the first theme. The water motive of the first section brings the work, one of the most beautiful of all symphonic poems, to its close.

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See also:
Middle Ages Music
Renaissance Music
Baroque Era Music
Classical Era Music
Romantic Era Music
Nationalist Era Music
Turn of Century Music

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