Rachmaninoff’s concert routine

Reporters described Sergei Rachmaninoff on a concert tour (c. 1940):

His punctuality is a legend.  If a reporter asks for two minutes of his time, two minutes and no more are given.  Consequently he arrives at a concert hall on the dot of 8 and goes on the stage precisely at 8:30.  If the concert is unavoidably delayed he becomes extremely impatient. [Observers often remarked on the big gold watch (the gift of Zverev) that went in and out of his pocket.]

As he waits in the wings before a performance, he puts his hands into an electric muff to keep them warm and flexible.  They are very tender, those hands, insured with Lloyds’ and carefully shielded from athletic handshakes.

While he plays, his wife listens in the wings so that she may tell him how the concert went well.  Afterward, he sips a cherry malted milk float (his favourite drink) unless he has to catch a train.  His conversation ranges in four languages over everything except death and politics, two topics he refuses to discuss.

Cited in: Bertensson, Sergei & Leyda, Jay (2001) Sergei Rachmaninoff: A Lifetime in Music.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, p.358.

Cherry Malted Milk Float:

  • 1/4 gallon chocolate ice cream.
  • 12 ounces cherry vanilla soda
  • 1/4 cup chopped malted milk balls
  • 4 maraschino cherries

In 4 medium size glasses, place two to three scoops of chocolate ice cream into each. Slowly pour cherry vanilla soda over ice cream and top with chopped malted milk balls and a maraschino cherry. Serve with long spoons and a straw.

Recipe source: www.foodnetwork.com