Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Sergei Rachmaninoff

37

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A Romantic classic falls one place this year

This piano concerto-like work was the 1934 equivalent of sampling a pop song. Rachmaninov had chosen his Caprice No. 24 for solo violin as the inspiration for an ingenious theme and variations for piano and orchestra. He moulds the main theme into all sorts of musical styles and formations. Rachmaninov was himself an outstanding pianist, as is borne out by his very own recording of the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, which is still available today.