Sinatra meets Rachmaninoff

They have probably never met in person, Frank Sinatra (1915–1998), the American singer and entertainer and Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943), the Russian pianist and composer, although, mathematically speaking, it might have been possible. However, almost two generations lay between both musicians and stylistically they are worlds apart. But there is a meeting point indeed, that even has to do with the full moon.

It is about the song “Full moon and empty arms”, composed by Ted Mossmann (1910–1977) in 1945, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, who was known to have been inspired by classical pieces. “Full moon and empty arms” is based on a melody that Mossmann took from Rachmaninoff’s piano concert No. 2 in C minor, 3rd movement from 1901. Ted Mossmann’s song was sung and made famous by Frank Sinatra in 1945. We brought a few bars of both songs face to face  – first Sinatra, followed by Rachmaninoff:

Other performers have also sung “Full moon and empty arms”, among them the German-Italian singer Caterina Valente in 1960.

The chorus of the song shows off the full moon to its advantage completely, when it says:

»Full moon and empty arms
The moon is there for us to share
But where are you?

Full moon and empty arms
tonight, I’ll use the magic moon
to wish upon.«

The longing finds a beautiful expression here, which can creep up on you when looking into the silver moonlight by yourself. At the same time, the magic power becomes apparent, that people see in the moonlight to fulfil their wishes.

If you would like to listen to the songs in full length, here you find the links of the videos in YouTube:

Frank Sinatra

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Caterina Valente


  1. dave in baltimore | 10 February 2015

    yes- rarely- but the classical becomes the popular- chopin, rachmaninoff- but now?
    lygeti? penderecksi? lutaslawki, part?
    something has gone wrong

  2. Melanie | 10 November 2011

    I just love this blog. Thank you so much, I know you enjoy putting it together, anything about the beautifull moon is fun to do! See you next Moonday. 😉

  3. Xanne | 10 November 2011

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog connecting Sinatra to Rachmaninoff. Both pieces are “beautiful” individually … and even more beautiful when paired together as you did. Thank you for sharing your fascination with all things full moon-related. It will be fun to see what you come up with next month too. XOXO

    • Jörg & Pat | 10 November 2011

      Thank you very much! We are publishing a new article once a week on Monday. Stay tuned 😉

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