Title of the article:



Daniil I. Topilin

Information about the author/authors

Daniil I. Topilin — PhD in Arts, Associate Professor, The History of Russian Music Department, The Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, Bolshaya Nikitskaya St. 13/6, 125009 Moscow, Russia; Associate Professor, The Music History Departmentat, The Russian Gnesins Academy of Music, Povarskaya St. 30/36, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3266-4947
E-mail: d.i.topilin@gmail.com


History of Arts




Vol. 68


pp. 329–33


April 22, 2021

Approved after reviewing

June 20, 2021

Date of publication

June 28, 2023



Index UDK


Index BBK



The present paper addresses the Preludes Op. 32 by Sergei V. Rachmaninoff. At first, the author presents the crucial from the researcher’s perspective semantic constants, i. e., the prevailing sense of nature and manorial life, including the correlation of indoor vs. outdoor states. The Preludes are replete with the foreboding of the impending fatal events of Russian history; they conceal oscillation between home warmth and wanderings. The idea of Russia, the idea of path, the idea of death as the pivotal elements of Rachmaninoff’s worldview manifest in the Op. 32. The author points out the relation to the major symphonic works of the period, such as the Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27, the choral symphony-poem The Bells, Op. 35. The paper attempts to “perceive” the implicit programme nature of the cycle; associations with Alexander S. Pushkin’ oeuvre emerge, as well as a subtle affinity with I. Bunin’s lyrical poetry and A Nobleman’s Nest by I. Turgenev.

The Prelude in B minor is a pinnacle of the cycle’s dramatic accumulation, appearing as a glimpse into the future through the burden of the happened events; the kinship with Rachmaninoff’s emigrant works is stunning. The “boundless snow desert” as an allegorical image of the native land on the eve of disaster is depicted in the Prelude in G sharp minor, reminding of the snowstorm in wilderness from Pushkin’s Captain’s Daughter — serving as the closest association, since in the beginning of the 1910s Russia yet again faced the fire of mutiny, the devastating revolutionary abyss of wrath and cruelty.

The combination of intrinsic musical-theoretical observations with the historical-cultural survey allows the author to come near the comprehensive picture. The methodological basis of the paper relies on the complex method: the author has applied hermeneutical, comparative, and historical approaches.


Sergei V. Rachmaninoff, Preludes Op. 32, the (prevailing) natural-manorial sense, the Idea of Russia, the Idea of the Path, the Idea of Death.


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