Rachmaninoff wrote his well-known Piano cycle in 1931, at a time when his great works for Piano solo and the Piano concertos had already made him very famous. Yet it is by no means the “work of an old man”.
The composer’s variations on the theme “La folia” (taken from a sonata by Corelli) are like a series of fireworks on the Piano. He once drily said to a friend, “All this mad running about is necessary in order to efface the theme”. Did Rachmaninoff succeed in silencing “la folia” – i.e. the “madness”? Why not see for yourself.