A work dazzling in its ingenuity, technical skill and range of expression Enigma Variations was an immediate popular success and transformed Elgar into a national and international figure. Musically, the original theme is remarkable in that it has the same rhythm whether it is played backwards or forwards and the two halves of the phrase suggest two different keys, one major and one minor which builds much drama into the melody. Rachmaninov’s most enduring masterpiece is his Second Piano Concerto. Rising out of mysterious depths of bell-like tolls, he quickly lets loose the first of many striking themes that litter the work. Its incessant energy and yearning passion never fail to stir the emotions. Overcoming his writer’s block, Rachmaninov found a new voice as a composer – one with a perfect knack for unforgettable tunes, dazzling pianistic effects, an effortless flow of ideas, and a very suave sense of style. Wagner’s overture deftly interweaves depictions of ocean storms with themes including a jolly Norwegian sailors’ chorus and that of the Flying Dutchman himself.

Works and composers

Wagner The Flying Dutchman Overture
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2
Elgar Enigma Variations

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