Throughout his career as composer, conductor, and pianist, Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was an intensely private individual. When Bertensson and Leyda's 1956 biography appeared, it lifted the veil of secrecy on several areas of Rachmaninoff's life, especially concerning the genesis of his compositions and how he was affected by their critical reception. These pages are fabulously peopled. Here we find the Tchaikovsky brothers, Rimsky-Korsakov, Scriabin, Glazunov, and Stravinsky, as well as Chekhov, Stanislavsky, Chaliapin, Fokine, Hofmann, and Horowitz. This biography reflects direct consultation with a number of people who knew Rachmaninoff, worked with him, and corresponded with him. Even with the availabilty of such sources and full access to the Rachmaninoff Archive at the Library of Congress, Bertensson, Leyda, and Satina (Rachmaninoff's cousin and sister-in-law) were tireless in their pursuit of privately held documents, particularly correspondence. The wonderfully engaging product of their labours masterfully incorporates primary materials into the narrative. Almost half a century after it first appeared, this volume remains essential reading.