Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody is an exercise in both compositional and pianistic prowess. It brilliantly exploits Paganini’s theme in a freely imaginative and rhythmically energetic Romantic outpouring, forged into a continuous and potent drama, and brimming with white-hot inspiration. Ukrainian, Thomas de Hartmann was a contemporary of Rachmaninov. He is a largely forgotten, yet major late-Romantic voice, as displayed in his suite extracted from his successful 1906 ballet. The Fourth Symphony is at once a summation of Brahms’ learning and technique, and a work of art that for all its complexities cuts as close to the heart of the heart as music can. Of all Brahms’ works, it displays his essence most completely – a cosmos of textures, tempos and moods, culminating in music of unsurpassed grandeur.