Rachmaninov was in such a funk after his first symphony was savaged by the critics (he was 24 yrs old – and no, that is not him in our picture) that he couldn’t compose for two years.
Then, according to Linda Mack of Andrews University, friends connected him with a psychologist called Dr Nikolai Dahl who tried to restore his self-confidence through hypnosis.
In a dark room, the doctor would repeat over and over such phrases as “You will begin your concerto…you will work with great facility…the concerto will be of excellent quality.”
The treatment was a success and the resulting 2nd Piano Concerto was a resounding triumph, and is still one of his most popular pieces. It is dedicated to the good Dr Dahl.