Faber Music have published a new transcription of Rachmaninoff’s song In the Silence of the Secret Night from acclaimed pianist Kirill Gerstein. The three-minute piece is taken from the composer’s song cycle Six Romances, Op. 4 (1890-93), setting a poem by Afanasy Fet describing a fitful lover’s nocturnal yearning. It makes for an ideal vignette in a recital programme or elegant encore, suitable for advanced players. The publication is available for digital download and as print-on-demand.
Gerstein’s score pays homage to the great tradition of transcription established by the likes of Liszt, Busoni and Rachmaninoff himself. While other great pianists have transcribed this song – often opulently, closer to the Rachmaninoff of the 1930s – Gerstein’s transcription dresses the musical material in piano textures more typical of the composer’s style c.1900-1910. An acclaimed interpreter of Rachmaninoff’s music, Gerstein has performed the transcription at Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal, the Royal Festival Hall and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
Joshua Barone discusses Gerstein's transcription in the New York Times; watch Gerstein perform In the Silence of the Secret Night here, part of his new recording of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.2 with the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Kirill Petrenko.
In the transcription of Rachmaninov’s song…[Gerstein’s] musicianship was at once liberated and liberating.
The Observer (Fiona Maddocks), 18 February 2023