Not intending to barge into this lofty discussion, but it seems strange to make a big meal about in what 'rhythm' the last bar of this prelude should be played. Yes one could easily overdo the ritenuto, which not indicated until beat 4 of the preceding bar, and the stretching out of the final arpeggio. But is there any point in wanting to have the top note of the arpeggio fall exactly on beat two of the bar ? Does it matter at all, except for wanting to be 'correct' ? Does rhythm come into play at all in such a deliciously yearning closing bar where you are already applying ritenuto ? To play it 'as written' would require you to take that arpeggio lightning fast. It would perhaps be a novelty, but sound positively weird. Maybe a nice idea to devote a masterclass to this, but none of the masters I heard on Youtube or elsewhere plays it like you propose, Eddy. Or am I, not being a composer, just completely missing the point ?
Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents, FWIW.......
I don't mean to beat to death the last bar of said prelude and I'm not out on a mission to change the world's interpretation of it, I assure you. It was just a convenient example for illustration. (It would be interesting to hear it performed by Rachmaninoff himself: I don't know if that exists however.) As far as your participation, the more the merrier!
Here's another example: imagine the leap after a 5/8 bar to the next measure (a 6/8 bar) is a bit difficult at tempo, and many give a little extra time to it. Bingo, now you may have two 6/8 bars! That should be avoided like the plague. Now if you want to add some poco rit
to the section overall in order to maneuver the difficulty, that is within reason as long as it's not overboard, but the assymetry must be appreciable. I don't believe in ignoring the complexity of the music
in order to maintain some artificial mechanical rendition, like an all-terrain vehicle going from pavement-to-dirt without any interruption in it's rhythm: no way! In fact, the more interesting the details, the slower the tempo is likely to be. No artist would pain-stakingly paint beautiful sidewalk art, and then say it should be viewed from altitude in an airplane. No, such a work would have no small detail, otherwise it would be waisted, and the ideas would be large. As an example here is the 1st mouvement of the Beethoven Op.27, No.2 (Moonlight). Do you know that you can buy it with a time signature of 4/4? But that's not what Beethoven wrote. The urtext is in 2/2. So it is not every 1/4 note
(triplet) that is important, but rather every half-note
. When one looks at that mouvement from a bit of "altitude" one learns not to give importance to the triplets (as so many interpretors do), but rather to subdue them to the larger features of the slower melody. When one tries to manage the decay of the slow melody's sustained notes, one begins to appreciate the tempo that that mouvement needs to go. (IMO. I see your 2 cents, and raise you 2 cents