At the ripe old age of 24, Rachmaninoff was impatient to compose his Symphony No. 1, a rich and eloquent work, some of whose themes are derived from the Gregorian chant Dies irae, the hymn of the dead. Artistic partner Nicolas Ellis breathes life into this quintessentially Russian work of contrast and confrontation. The charm of a sweet melody is irresistible, especially when played on the violin by Yukari Cousineau. And that is exactly what Nielsen’s Violin Concerto offers: simplicity, contentedness and heady tunes. Opening the concert, Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn presents the delicate colours of the composer’s orchestral palette.