For the first time in musicological literature, the article examines an important episode in Rachmaninov’s creative biography — his debut performance in Vienna with his Second Piano Concerto. The responses to this event in 20 German-language publications are studied in comparison with the first reviews of this work in the Russian press. The whole range of assessments and opinions can be traced both about the work itself and about the features of its author’s reading. Previously unknown observations about the musical specifics of this concert are introduced into scientific use at its first perception. Rare, for the first time presented evidence of different times about the style of interpretation of the great pianist, which enrich our ideas about his extraordinary performing appearance, is also analyzed.