This is one of the more famous piano pieces ever written, and is an example of the ultimate Russian romantic composer's imagination and technical mastery of the keyboard.
Rachmaninoff had immense hands and long fingers, such that his pieces tend to be filled with large spreads and interlocking fingers. This work, one of his early pieces, shows that this pattern was early to emerge.
Since Rachmaninoff wrote as many as eight or in some cases sixteen notes sounding on the piano simultaneously, it is apparent that some compromises had to be made to bring this work over to saxophone quintet. In addition to harmonically simplifying the piece a bit, it was also transposed to concert Eb minor (from C sharp minor) to stay within the ranges of the various members of the saxophone family. Still, the soprano and alto parts are high in many places.
The "agitato" section was shortened considerably, as it will likely be played much, much slower than most pianists would play it. It is marked at a tempo of 70, but can be played as fast as the players can execute the triplet figure cleanly. Most of that work falls to the alto saxophones. This piece is appropriate for good high school groups and above.
PRELUDE OPUS 3 NO. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, arranged by Tom Kirkland for saxophone quintet consisting of one soprano, two altos, one tenor, and one baritone, comes in a pdf file of 274K, with a six-page score, five two-page parts, and a license page, seventeen pages in all. Performance time should be about 4:30.
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Last update: 21 March 2017