And now for something slightly different.

While these pages usually confine themselves to the products of a singer, guitar, bass and drums (or permutations thereof), this latest piece is a break from that particular routine.

I’ve been listening to Rachmaninov a lot lately – at times to the point of excluding anything else. It’s proved something of a departure, but a welcome one.

As you’ll see from what I knocked together in my article, Rachmaninov has had a lasting influence on a great deal of pop music – from Frank Sinatra through to Moloko.

I first fell in love with his music when watching the Geoffery Rush film Shine. Being a pianist myself (although far from anywhere near good enough to play anything apart from a couple of the opening chords of the second piano concerto), I’ve been in awe of this composer’s music ever since.

But whether you are a pianist or not  – whether you recognise the technical prowess required to interpret his music or not – there is something about this composer’s work that reaches out and touches the soul.

If an alien ever lands in your back garden and asks you “what is music and why do people listen to it?”, just play them something by Rachmaninov and watch as he, she or it bursts into tears before thanking you for enlightening them so much that they decide not to destroy you and all of civilisation.

Read on…

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