How Rachmaninov played The Star-Spangled Banner

How Rachmaninov played The Star-Spangled Banner


norman lebrecht

August 24, 2015

The New York Philharmonic, which has a Rachmaninov season coming up, has reminded us of the existence of a recording of the great composer playing the US national anthem.

It’s an unusual performance, completely without bombast and with more than a trace of melancholic yearning.

The Russian culture minister should listen to it before he tries to repatriate the composer’s remains.

rachmaninov piano

Compare and contrast with the Horowitz interpretation.


  • William Safford says:

    Is that from a piano roll?

    • Herbert Pauls says:

      It has to be, and certainly sounds like it. Every shellack recording of Rachmaninoff has long been accounted for, as he meticulously destroyed everything he did not want published. Thanks to SD for posting this.

    • Ann Goldberg says:


      Norman, with his magical powers, has resurrected him.

  • Jonathan Grieves-Smith says:

    I think Horowitz has got something against that piano!!