Rachmaninoff: An X-Man Before The First Class

rachmaninoff library of congress mar28.jpg
Library of Congress
Sergei Rachmaninoff, who died on this day in 1943, was a Russian-born composer and absolutely incredible pianist. As a composer he's mostly known for his stunning concertos and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, but it was as a pianist that he was uncanny. Even Anton Rubinstein, who we have previous acknowledged as not only one of the greatest concert piano performers of all time but a sweet-ass pimp to boot - acknowledged Rachmaninoff as something special.

"He had the secret of the golden, living tone which comes from the heart," said Rubinstein. "I was under the spell of his glorious and inimitable tone which could make me forget my uneasiness about his too rapidly fleeting fingers and his exaggerated rubatos."

The sentence to pay attention to in that worthy praise is "too rapidly fleeting fingers." See, Rachmaninoff wasn't simply a gifted musician, he was a freaking mutant!

His biography reads like a damn origin story anyway. He started out as a privileged and lazy, but full of potential, youth until the death of his mentor Tchaikovsky threw him into overdrive. The establishment damned him when the Russian Orthodox Church denounced his marriage - granted, he married his cousin - and he was forced to flee during the 1917 Russian Revolution with nothing but a few scores and the clothes on his back. Eventually, he immigrated to America. Already he's basically a combination Spider-Man and Magneto.

It doesn't stop there. While still in Russia, Rachmaninoff was prone to fits of depression and began undergoing an early form of hypnotic therapy called autosuggestion. As a trained hypnotherapist, Rocks Off can tell you that with a willing subject hypnosis can be used to boost all sorts of attributes. We've helped fighters perceive their opponents as moving more slowly, enabling them to easily counter moves, and helped runners maintain perfect rhythm in stride and breathing.

These same techniques are what made some famous mystery men into superheroes such as The Question and The Shadow. We're not saying that Rachmaninoff used any of these techniques to amplify his abilities, but we're not ruling it out.

The effects of autosuggestion may have been enhanced by Rachmaninoff's extraordinary memory. If he read a score once, especially if he liked it, he could play it back perfectly the next day, the next week, or decades later.

All of this pales besides the fact that his greatest physical gifts were a form of mutation.



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8 comments
syfanning
syfanning

Fantastic! He does have the exact qualities - tortured past, high intelligence, passion - that Stan Lee's greatest mutants possessed. We can only wonder what he would have Become under Professor Xavier's tutelage :)

Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

I'm sure the forty or so legitimate conservatories of music across the world will be thrilled to learn this morning that a professional 'Rocks-Off' music journalist and self proclaimed hypnotherapist from Texas has just tagged Rachmaninoff a freaking mutant!

Is reader auto-suggested indifference to the Houston Press a business goal of Village Voice Media?

Jef With One F
Jef With One F

I like to think he'd have developed his stretching powers like Dhalsim from Street Fighter

hello,
hello,

you must be new here.

Jef With One F
Jef With One F

I'm not a "self-proclaimed hypnotherapist." I am really a registered hypnotist in Texas who has worked with patients for habit cessation, sports performance, test preparation, and pain management.

Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

Exactly

The root source problem in developing new readers or customers.

Jef With One F
Jef With One F

I don't practice professionally, just occasionally for friends and family to stay in shape. I lost a very good friend to cancer while I was working with her on pain management. After that I... well, I just didn't want to be a professional hypnotist any more.

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