Vaughan Williams’ Second Symphony has been described as the musical equivalent of Monet’s paintings of the sun rising over a foggy Thames. Actual London sounds fleetingly emerge from an exquisitely woven musical tapestry – the chimes of Big Ben, the cry of a lavender-seller. Central to the symphony’s success is the wonderful limpid scoring, which Vaughan Williams felt in later life that he had never bettered. All of Brahms’ four instrumental concertos were milestones in his compositional development. The Second Piano Concerto was written shortly after the Second Symphony and is itself symphonic in scale and form, comprising four movements. It makes great demands on the performer’s technique, with its wide octave spans and quickly alternating rapid scale and chordal passages.