Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Stories: Frankenstein


Prelude in G sharp minor

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Walton is approaching the mysterious, unknown North Pole. He has hopeful expectations of what he will find there.

As he continues to approach, there is a real sense of fate or foreshadowing…but Walton himself is engaged in optimistic hope. His daydreams become mixed with the fate theme of the beginning.

But now, Walton’s longing grows, even as he discovers nature and fate’s refusal to fulfill his wishes (descending lines). This leads to his growing fury.

At the climax of the piece, his fate is revealed to him. He understands that nature is completely against him, blocking his way (a fulfillment of the beginning foreshadowing).

Walton’s daydreams become sad as imagines what he now knows he can never have. He feels a pang of anger at fate, but then settles into unhappy resignation.

At the end, we hear the farewell: as the music dissolves, Walton is having his last glimpse of the icy shore (and/or the monster) before his boat turns away forever.


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