A couple of years ago Anita and I went to hear Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Symphony. We were familiar with his works for Piano but had never taken time to listen to his symphonies. We sat speechless throughout the entire four movements. The 3rd (Adagio) movement (Part 1 of 2 linked here for your enjoyment; don’t miss Part 2) escorted me out of the hall to I know not where. I’ve never come back completely. I’m listening to it now on the back porch, just settling into the truth which this symphony shares. If you still wonder what transcendence is, don’t do more reading, do more listening.
Another Rach piece my son and I love and listen to over and over is his 3rd Piano Concerto. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times. You never recover from Rachmaninoff. It’s probably not the best way to listen to his 3rd Piano Concerto the first time, but here’s the amazing Valentina Lasitsa playing the 3rd Rach without the orchestra. From minute 9:30 onward it’s indescribable, and after the storm begins to settle the transition that occurs at 12:35 is an invitation to as healing a moment as you’ll every have in music.