In this elegant work, Tchaikovsky modelled the first movement on Mozart, whom he greatly admired. The next movement, a waltz, is pure joy, while the beautiful third movement is one of his most heartfelt. The finale is based on two Russian folk tunes.
Rachmaninoff No. 2 is is the epitome of a Russian romantic symphony, filled with fire
and energy as well as tender melancholy and yearning. Rachmaninoff’s fabulous Russian melodies are enriched with the plangent wind writing and swooping string lines that are so characteristic of his writing. The music seems able to plumb the darkest depths while simultaneously soaring into the light. A dramatic and varied first movement is followed by a galloping scherzo with a slower interlude that is one of the most romantic ever written – though even that is outdone by the Adagio that follows, with its meltingly lovely clarinet solo.