Tom Service takes a cinematic journey through Russia on the musical trail of that Romantic giant, Sergei Rachmaninoff. Via Moscow, St Petersburg, Novgorod, Tambov (and Senar in Switzerland), Tom chronicles a classic tale of right man, wrong time. Born in Russia in 1873 and dying in America in 1943, not only did Rachmaninoff weather the false accusation that he was an anachronism who wrote sentimental, gushing Romanticism in a firmly modern century, his life intersected with one of the darkest periods in Russian history - Revolution, Civil War and two World Wars. Yet, from the world-famous Second Piano Concerto in C Minor to the chocolate box 18th variation from the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, time and time again the melodious yet melancholic wonderment of this unstarry, aristocratic Russian has touched the collective unconscious, and The Joy Of Rachmaninoff celebrates our love affair with this passionate, dark and tremendously popular composer. Tom visits key locations in Russia that informed Rachmaninoff’s artistic life - from the beautiful, throaty sound of the bells of St Sophia’s Cathedral Novgorod to the breath-taking endless steppe of Ivanovka (pictured), his Russian estate in Tambov Oblast. Tom also gains rare access to Rachmaninoff’s bespoke Swiss villa ‘Senar’ on the banks of Lake Lucerne, and hears the famous 18th Paganini Variation played on the piano on which it was written. With respected Rachmaninoff scholar Geoffrey Norris, Tom also gets to grips with the original scores of the Second Piano Concerto and C Sharp Minor Prelude in Moscow. The film also brings to life key moments in Rachmaninoff’s career, from the abortive premier of his First Symphony to a disastrous meeting in Moscow with that giant of Russian literature, Leo Tolstoy, and his hurried and final departure from Russia in 1917, fleeing the perils of Bolshevism - moments that led to self-doubt and depression for the composer. Tom also explores how Rachmaninoff invoked a melancholia in his work that suggests an almost prophetic ability: how in his music you might hear an expectation of great tragedy that would characterise the Russian 20th century. With specially shot performances (including Vespers 1,5 & 6, extracts from the piano concerti, C Sharp Minor Prelude and Cello Sonata) and contributions from great musicians including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Denis Matsuev, Steven Isserlis, Lucy Parham, Alexander Vinogradov, Iain Burnside, James Rhodes, Stephen Hough and Vladimir Jurowski.