(Music History Wednesday) Rachmaninov: The Isle of the Dead, Symphonic poem Op. 29

Hello everyone!

I am changing the tag Ancient Music Wednesday to Music History Wednesday simply because I want to correct myself in using the term ‘ancient’ in classifying these music presented to you via this blog. Since the word classical music also doesn’t really fit with what I wish to do with this weekly post, I chose the word Music History Wednesday instead. So, I hope you enjoy it!

This week I would like to present how nature inspire a painting and a painting inspire music composition. Isle of the Dead is a painting by Arnold Böcklin. Pondikonissi Island is said to be the island that inspire Bocklin to paint Isle of the Dead.

There are five version of the painting which was painted between 1880 – 1886. One at the Met in New York, one was destroyed during WW II, two in Germany and one ,which was the first version is in Switzerland. Rachmaninov first saw the painting (although I am not entirely sure which of the paintings he saw) in 1907 and resume to work and complete this composition in 1908.


Isle of the Dead, 1880, Arnold Bocklin – Source


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s