Prelude in C sharp minor (Russian: Прелюдия), Op. 3, No. 2, is one of Sergei Rachmaninoff's most famous compositions. It is a ternary (ABA) prelude in C sharp minor, 62 measures long, and part of a set of five pieces entitled Morceaux de Fantaisie.
Its first performance was by the composer on September 20th, 1892, at a festival called the Moscow Electrical Exhibition, which Rachmaninoff considered his debut as a pianist. After this première, a review of the concert singled out the Prelude, noting that it had “aroused enthusiasm”. From this point on, its popularity would grow.
This work was one of the first the 19‑year‑old Rachmaninoff composed as a "Free Artist", after he graduated from the Moscow Conservatory on 29 May 1892. He performed this new work for the first time at one of the concerts of the Moscow Electrical Exhibition on 8/20 October 1892. It was printed the following year as the second of five Morceaux de Fantaisie (Op. 3), all dedicated to Anton Arensky, his harmony teacher at the Conservatory. Because at the time Russia was not party to the 1886 Berne Convention, Russian publishers did not pay royalties, so the only financial return he ever received for this piece was...