Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 is one of the most enduringly popular pieces of classical music. It was composed at the start of the twentieth century and music from the concerto features prominently in the classic, 1940s film Brief Encounter and less extensively in a number of other movies. Listen out for it!
The work is virtuosic (it gives the pianist a chance to show off) but also highly lyrical. It lasts about 35 minutes and is witten in three movements: Moderato, Adagio sostenuto & Allegro scherzando.
The recommended version by the pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy performing with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kirill Kondrashin was recorded in the 1960s, but still sounds good and the performance has rarely been bettered since. You can purchase it as a download from Presto Classical or you might find it available as a second hand CD.
If you wish to buy a recently recorded version on CD then Alexandre Tharaud’s 2016 account with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alexander Vedernikov will give much pleasure.