The failure of Symphony No. 1 (1897) long bothered Rachmaninoff.
Nikolai Vladimirovich Dahl, often called Nicolai Dahl (Russian: Николай Владимирович Даль) (July 17, 1860 – 1939) was a Russian physician. He graduated from the Moscow University in 1887, and was a studied in France with Charcot who initiated a therapy by hypnotizing his patients. Dahl had a private practice in Moscow. His speciality was in the fields of neurology, psychiatry and psychology. Dahl was interested in music and he was a competent amateur cellist.
Dahl is best known for treating the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Rachmaninoff had a nervous breakdown because of poor critical reviews of his Symphony No. 1 and went into a creative block. In January 1900 Dahl took Rachmaninoff into a treatment which lasted daily for more than three months, using hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. Dahl’s treatment, helped by support from Rachmaninoff’s own family and friends, cured the composer, who dedicated his Piano Concerto No. 2 (1901) to Dahl.