Throughout his career as composer, conductor, and pianist, Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was an intensely private individual. When Bertensson and Leyda's 1956 biography appeared, it lifted the veil of secrecy from several areas of Rachmaninoff's life, especially concerning the genesis of his compositions and how their critical reception affected him.The authors consulted many of Rachmaninoff's associates. Given full access to the Rachmaninoff Archive at the Library of Congress, they were tireless in their pursuit of privately held documents, particularly correspondence. David Cannata's new introduction summarizes what has happened in Rachmaninoff scholarship since the book was first published.
Sergei Bertensson, who knew Rachmaninoff, published works on music and film, often with a documentary emphasis.Jay Leyda wrote extensively on Russian Music and film, as well as on American literature.David Butler Cannata is Professor of Music History at Esther Boyer College of Music, Temple University.