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Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff 
(Russian:Сергей Васильевич Рахманинов,
SergejVasilevič Rahmaninov
 
) or 20March 1873 (O.S.) – 28 March1943) was a Russiancomposer , pianist, andconductor , one of  the last great champions of theRomantic style of European classical music. ("SergeiRachmaninoff" was the spelling the composer himself used while living in theWestthroughoutthe latter half of his life. However,transliterations of his name include
Sergey
or 
Serge
, and
 Rachmaninov
,
 Rachmaninow
,
 Rakhmaninov
or 
 Rakhmaninoff 
.)Rachmaninoff is regarded as one of the mostinfluential pianists of the 20th century. He hadlegendary technical facilities and rhythmic drive,and his large hands were able to cover theinterval of athirteenthon the keyboard (a handspan of approximately twelve inches). Accordingto fellow composer Igor Stravinsky Rachmaninoff stood 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm)tall.
 
.He also had the ability to play complexcompositions upon first hearing. Manyrecordings were made by theVictor TalkingMachine Companyrecording label of Rachmaninoff performing his own music, aswell as works from the standard repertory.His reputation as a composer has generated avariety of opinions, before his music gainedsteady recognition across the world. The 1954edition of 
notoriously dismissed his music as
"monotonous in texture ... consist[ing] mainly of artificial and gushing tunes ..." 
and predictedthat his popular success was
"not likely to last" 
([1]
 
). To this,Harold C. Schonberg, in his
 Livesof the Great Composers
, responded,
"It is one of the most outrageously snobbish and even stupid  statements ever to be found in a work that is supposed to be an objective reference." 
Indeed,not only have Rachmaninoff's works become part of the standard repertoire, but their  popularity among both musicians and audienceshas, if anything, increased during the second half of the twentieth century, with some of hissymphoniesand other orchestralworks,songs andchoralmusic recognized as masterpiecesalongside the more familiar piano works.His compositions include, among numerousothers: four  piano concerti; theRhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; threesymphonies; twopiano sonatas;threeoperas;achoralsymphony (
, based on thepoembyEdgar Allan Poe
 
);the
, for unaccompanied choir (often known as Rachmaninoff'sVespers
 
);twenty-four Preludes (including the famousPrelude in C-sharp minor 
 
); theSix MomentsMusicaux;seventeenÉtudes-tableaux; many songs, of which the most famous are
"V molchanyi nochi taynoi" ("In the silence of night")
,
 Lilacs
, and the wordless 
; andthe last of his works, theSymphonic Dances.Most of his pieces follow a melancholy, late-Romanticstyle akin toTchaikovsky,although strong influences of ChopinandLisztare apparent. Further inspiration included the musicof Balakirev,Mussorgsky,Medtner (whom he considered the greatest contemporary composer and who, according to Schonberg's
 Lives
,returned the compliment by imitating him) andHenselt.
 
Joseph-Maurice Ravel
(March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was aFrench  composer and pianistof the impressionistic period,known especiallyfor the subtlety, richness and poignancyof his music. Hispiano,chamber music  andorchestralworks have becomestaples of the concertrepertoire. Ravel's piano compositions, such as
,
and
, demand considerablevirtuosityfrom the performer, and hisorchestralmusic, including
andhis arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky's
,uses tonalcolor and variety of sound andinstrumentationvery effectively.To the general public, Ravel is probably best known for hisorchestralwork,
, which he considered trivial andonce described as "a piece for orchestrawithout music."
 
According toSacem, Ravel's estate earnsmoreroyaltiesthan that of any other French musician.

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