Row, row, row your boat

October 30, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Sergei Rachmaninoff was inspired to write a symphonic poemThe Isle of the Dead” after he saw this painting by the same name:


The unusual meter of 5 beats per measure makes the motion of the piece feel like the gentle rocking of a boat as it carries a soul across the river styx. The quotation of the Dies Irae chant was clichéd by the time Rachmaninoff wrote this piece, having been worn out by both Berlioz and Lizst. Nonetheless, this marvelous work deserves more credit than it is given, and is far more interesting than any of Rachmaninoff’s symphonies – and nowhere near as long!