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The Healing of Sergei Rachmaninov

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 28 November 2012

This latest biographical drama by Martyn Wade about the lives of composers tells the remarkable story behind the composition of Sergei Rachmaninov's celebrated and famous 2nd Piano Concerto.

When only 22, Rachmaninov composed his 1st Symphony and, having already established himself as a worthy successor to Tchaikovsky, he awaited its premiere with nervous anticipation. He was in a state of heightened emotion, having dedicated the piece to his lover Anna Lodyzhenskya, the wife of his best friend. His guilty passion for her inspired the work.

The composer Glazunov, who conducts the piece, is drunk and the premiere is a disaster. Rachmaninov is so distraught he fears he will never compose again. A long period of creative block and the impact on his relationship with Anna leave him with no faith in himself. But his cousin Natasha suggests a visit to a hypnotherapist who claims he can cure the composer and enable him to start work on the piece he most wants to compose next - a second piano concerto. Will the treatment work? The play explores an extraordinary period in the life of one of the great composers.

Writer: Martyn Wade
Director: Cherry Cookson
A Goldhawk Essential production for BBC Radio 4.


Jamie Glover
Alison Pettitt
Stephen Critchlow



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