Sergei Rachmaninow played the piano with an almost unabashed freedom and sensuous tone, qualities that can be heard in historical recordings. A 1927 recording, for example, in which Rachmaninow performs a waltz by Frederic Chopin: under his fingers, the 3/4 time is moulded like modeling clay according to the pianist’s free fantasy, from the subtlest hesitations to sudden, frenetic accelerations. The piano also occupies a prominent place in Rachmaninow’s compositional output. His First Piano Concerto is his opus 1, and his Second Concerto for Piano and Orchestra became an international hit – even in pop culture. Songwriters like Billy Joel and Eric Carmen borrowed motifs from the piece. And director Billy Wilder also recognized the power of this music; in his film The Seven Year Itch, the second movement of the Second Piano Concerto played an important supporting role. The scene: Tom Ewell is inspecting his record collection, searching for music to seduce “the girl” Marilyn Monroe. “Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky,” no, none of them are right for the occasion . . . but then “good old RrRachmaninow” – that will do the trick. So with the Second Piano Concerto, the story of seduction – albeit only in his imagination – follows its course.