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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
Anyone who knows Eric knows that he writes about a little bit of everything, whether it's taking a trip down memory lane, or praising and/or criticizing something or someone.
Rachmaninoff
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By Eric Bergeson
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother ...
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Eric Bergeson's The Country Scribe
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother Joe, who is now president of the company, the business has nearly tripled in size during Eric’s ownership tenure. The holder of a Master of Arts in History from the University of North Dakota, Eric has taught courses in history and political science at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. He is also an adjunct lecturer in history for Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. Eric’s hobbies include Minnesota Twins baseball, Bach organ music, bookstores, hiking, photography, singing old country music with his brother Joe, and watching the wildlife on the swamp in front of his house eight miles outside of Fertile, Minn.
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On the trip home from Minneapolis today, the roads were clear and I was able to enjoy an album of the great Sergei Rachmoninoff playing his own music in 1911-1915, when he was at his prime as a great pianist. Here, he plays his most famous Prelude, a piece he grew to hate closer to his death in 1943 because everybody insisted upon hearing him play it as if it was the only piece he wrote. It was a great piece, of course, but one can understand his exhaustion at being treated like a one-trick pony. 



I don't think there is anybody who physically mastered the piano like Rachmaninoff. So excessive was his strength that he was forced to use at least half of it to restrain himself. Horowitz just lets his strength go and the piano roars and rumbles uncontrollably. Rachmaninoff holds back and uses his strength to produce absolute accuracy, absolute control, absolute tautness. His rhythms are so controlled, so tight, so strong that one almost gets a headache imagining how much thought he put into a piece before executing it to perfection. 



We are lucky to have these recordings (look up "A Window in Time") which were made by a piano roll machine long before audio recordings were of any quality. The rolls were discovered in the 1980s and a piano was constructed to replay them. Thanks to these rolls, we know how the scowling Old Man intended his piano pieces to sound. Would that we had the same for Bach. 



UPDATE: At least we have Rachmaninoff playing Bach, anyway! 

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