The Island of dead (symphonic poem)
Work constitutes a musical description of the table éponyme of the Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin, whose Rachmaninov particularly sticks to recreate the lugubrious atmosphere. The music is not without presenting a Wagnerian character, in particular because of use of a labyrinthian chromatism.
The auditive notoriety of work is due to its main theme, illustrating the lapping of water and the swinging of the funeral boat: the music describes the quiet and furtive approach boat, the voyage through the night, the dense fog, the good-byes impassioned with terrestrial happiness, the soft release of death; then, after it had deposited its burden, the frontier runner recrosses water and disappears.
Its musical notoriety holds, on the one hand with the quasi-continual use of measurement with 5/8, representing the gesture of the oarsman Charon - three times for the oar in water, two times for the gesture out of water (except in a fraction, data with 4/4, taking again the topic of the Dies Irae) - and on the other hand, with its orchestration, particularly dense and detailed.
External bondsDescription and analyzes Island of deaths
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