An artwork image showing an orange landscape with a pianist, and angel playing a trumpet, a woman in a rose-covered dress, a bulldog, a Wagnerian Valkyrie, the Royal Festival Hall and Royal Albert Hall, a cello, skeletons playing french horns, a structure with large hanging bells and Vasily Petrenko conducting on a hill.


Fancy an encore? As part of our #MoreMusic series for Icons Rediscovered, we delve further into the worlds of Elgar, Rachmaninov, Verdi, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and more composers. In our More Music playlists, we expand on the concert programme with music that gives a broader view of the composers featured in the series, alongside works by their contemporaries and the influences on the repertoire.

Verdi's Requiem

After Verdi's colossal Requiem in the Royal Albert Hall, discover more music by Liszt, Brahms and various contemporaries of Verdi.

Franz Liszt’s solo piano transcription of the Agnus dei from Verdi’s Requiem. Liszt made piano transcriptions of several of Verdi’s operatic works as well, helping to promote the operas to a wider audience.

Brahms’ German Requiem, completed just six years before Verdi’s work, which offers a more comforting message of solace and hope.

The jointly composed Messa per Rossini, with the original version of Verdi’s Libera me. Sadly, none of the other composers who contributed to this ultimately ill-fated undertaking are remembered today.

Rachmaninov's The Bells

After Rachmaninov's 'The Bells' Symphony in Southbank Centre, discover more music and recordings from Elgar, Weinberg and Tchaikovsky.

Elgar’s In the South, in an original 1923 recording performed by the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra with Elgar himself conducting.

Weinberg’s Violin Concerto, composed just a few years after his Cello Concerto, lauded by Shostakovich as ‘magnificent’ and now one of his best-known works.

Tchaikovsky’s ‘Pathétique’ Symphony (No.6), his last completed symphony, which received its premiere just nine days before his death.

Elgar's Symphony No.2

After Elgar's Symphony No.2 in Southbank Centre, discover more music by Elgar, Rachmaninov and Ethel Smyth.

Ethel Smyth’s one-act opera Der Wald (1901) which had its London premiere at Covent Garden in 1902. A review in The Telegraph, though positive, gives a clear indication of the prejudices Smyth faced as a woman composer at that time: ‘This little woman writes music with a masculine hand and has a sound and logical brain, such as is supposed to be the especial gift of the rougher sex.’

Rachmaninov’s lesser-known Piano Concerto No.4 in G minor (1926), which exists in three different versions, the last of which is most commonly played today

Elgar’s Violin Concerto (1910) which premiered the same week as his Symphony No.2 and into which, as Elgar wrote to Alice Stuart Wortley, he also ‘wrote out his soul’.

Wagner's Grand Festival

After Wagner's Grand Festival in the Royal Albert Hall, discover more music by Wagner and what influenced him.

Wagner’s last opera Parsifal (1882), which he began composing as early as 1857, but set aside to complete The Ring Cycle. Like the Ring, it was premiered at his opera house in Bayreuth.

Carl Maria von Weber’s opera Der Freischütz (1821), which Wagner first heard in Dresden aged nine, leading him to describe Weber as ‘an exceptional and almost superhuman being’. From its innovative orchestration to thematic manipulation and even character development, Der Freischütz is one of very few true antecedents for Wagner’s Ring.

And why not read Wagner’s 1851 essay, Opera and Drama, in which he sets out his ideas for the future of opera, including his artistic and aesthetic ambitions for The Ring Cycle.

Rachmaninov's Symphony No.2

After Rachmaninov's Symphony No.2 and Strauss' Brentano Lieder in the Royal Festival Hall on Thursday 8 February, discover more music by the composers featured and their influences.

Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs, a collection composed in the final year of his life as a farewell to friends, work, love and art.

Rachmaninov once said he composed ‘completely under the spell of Tchaikovsky’ and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, ‘Pathétique’ appears to have been a major influence on Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony.

Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture, conducted by the composer himself in a 1933 recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker and Iolanta

After the semi-staged performance of Tchaikovsky's last opera, Iolanta, and Act II of The Nutcracker in the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 8 November, discover more music by the icon of ballet and Romantic orchestral music.

Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, the second of his three ballets and predecessor to The Nutcracker.

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel of the same name. Like Iolanta, it is a troubled love story, a tale of a young country girl and her unrequited infatuation with the sophisticated Onegin which ends in despair.

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, with its iconic opening prelude, so closely mirrored here in Tchaikovsky’s score.

Elgar's Symphony No.1

After Lera Auerbach's Icarus, Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2 and Elgar's Symphony No.1, performed in Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 29 October, we recommend...

Wagner's Parsifal was noted as one of the Germanic influences on Elgar's Symphony No.1 by a reviewer for The Times after its 1909 London premiere, in addition to Brahms, but the review heralded the symphony as "one of the most original and most important that has been added to the stock of recent music." Fellow late-Romantic British composer Frederic Delius, who first gained popularity as a composer in Germany, was little-known in his birth country until future RPO founder Thomas Beecham championed his music, conducting the premiere of the opera A Village Romeo and Juliet in the Royal Opera House in 1910, from which the orchestral interlude The Walk to the Paradise Garden has become a concert favourite.

Lera Auerbach's utter uniqueness as a composer can be heard in 72 Angels for mixed choir and saxophone quartet, which, much like Icarus, uses the rich and esoteric nature of mythic narrative for its inspiration. Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 (1909) is widely considered to be one of the most challenging works in the romantic concerto repertoire, and arguably a more mature and more thematically intricate work than the concerto with which he made his breakthrough.

Rachmaninov's period of depression and creative blockage that preceded the Second Piano Concerto can be traced to the disastrous premiere of his First Symphony, which was conducted by Alexander Glazunov, who was probably not sober at the time. Glazunov as a Russian Romantic composer, much like Rachmaninov and Rimsky-Korsakov, was a hold-out against the modernism pioneered by those such as Stravinsky. One of his stand-out works was his Violin Concerto, which was premiered in St Petersburg in 1905.

Also, for the ‘truest’ possible interpretation of Elgar’s First Symphonylisten to the very first recording, made in 1931 by the London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Elgar himself.

Lera Auerbach’s Russian Requiem (2007) explores her uneasy relationship with the homeland she left behind, her sense of geographical dislocation and her cultural inheritance. Listen to an excerpt.

Discover more about Elgar and Rachmaninov

Programme notes and listening recommendations by Jo Kirkbride, 2023

Thank you for your support and interest in our Icons Rediscovered series of concerts at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.

Find #MoreMusic from our 2022-23 Journeys of Discovery series with Vasily Petrenko.

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