In the summer of 1993 I had the idea to transcribe Rachmaninoff's Prelude in g minor. I already knew the fantastic original version as performed by Alexis Weissenberg, Sviatoslav Richter or the master himself on Ampico Piano-roll. I was fascinated by that masterpiece and set about to bring it to one left hand and a bow with the incredible virtuosic playing of Ruggiero Ricci always in my mind. In 1981 I took a masterclass with him and in 1993 he was teaching at Salzburg, so close to Munich, where I live. It was Ruggiero's 75th birthday on July 24th that year, so the dedication was my special gift to him. I mailed the music to him and got a phone call three days later: "This is Ricci; I got your music-it's a good piece and I want to record it..." He invited me to his home at Johann-Wolf-Straße 16A in Salzburg and showed me upstairs to his studio where he played a very private practice-version recorded on his Uher in slow motion. This was the beginning of a very personal friendship marked by frequent visits with him and his wife Julia. I was fortunate to remain very close to him until his passing.
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Click below to listen to Frank Peter Zimmermann perform Rachmaninoff's Prelude in g minor.