I'm not sure if this question belongs here, so I apologise if it doesn't.

When when I was in high school, I was really into Rachmaninoff's pieces. My teacher once heard me trying to learn one of his preludes, and at the end of the lesson, he told me a little about Rachmaninoff's intentions. He told me that Rachmaninoff composed music that was difficult to perform because he hated the pianists of the time and wanted to challenge them (or something along those lines - it's been a while).

I tried doing some research on this and I couldn't find this being mentioned anywhere. It's been a while since I graduated and I can't ask the teacher because I don't have his contact. Is this true to any extent? Is there some other reason that he composed difficult songs?

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    I'm not a Rachmaninoff scholar, but I imagine that, like Chopin, Paganini, and other 19th-century performer-composers, he composed first and foremost for his own performance. So when these guys wrote difficult material it was more to show off that they could play something that no one else could, than to set others an impossible challenge out of spite. I'd love to hear from someone with more Rocky knowledge than me how common it was for his peers to play his works during his lifetime. Sep 9, 2021 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


I don't think Rachmaninoff "hated" other pianists. In his earlier years he was influenced a lot by Tschaikovsky, but shifted into the "typical" Rachmaninoff- style.

Rachmaninoff had huge hands, being able to play 13th with either hand, and as a result, his pieces are quite hard to play for the average person. This, combined with his powerful style and the fact that he composed a lot of études could make someone think that he actually "hated" pianists, but I couldn't find anything specific to that.


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