Music: Preludes

To U. S. citizens who stay away from concerts, the best-known high-brow composer now living is probably Russian-born Sergei Vassilievich Rachmaninoff. His crashing Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, first introduced to the U. S. in 1898 by his friend Pianist Alexander Siloti, immediately started to outsell Tin Pan Alley's song hits, has rolled up a total of some 5,000,000 copies. In 1909, when 36-year-old Rachmaninoff made his U. S. debut as a concert pianist, the "Flatbush* Prelude," as it was then known, had made his exotic name familiar to U. S. lips.

Rachmaninoff lived to regret...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!