Stephen Hough discusses Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" and performs it at the 2013 BBC Proms.

Pianist and composer Stephen Hough visits Denver this weekend to perform Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” on a Colorado Symphony program that also includes his piece “Missa Mirabilis” for choir and orchestra. 

The British pianist performed the Rachmaninoff piece at the 2013 BBC Proms and explained the beauty and flexibility of the melody that runs through the music.

“It’s like a white shirt – a beautiful, crisp, white shirt," Hough said. "You can put anything with it: jeans, a tie, evening clothes. It will look fine.”

He extended the metaphor in describing the powerful, bare-bones piano part in the rhapsody’s introduction: "He hangs the white shirt up and says, 'This is what I’m going to work with.’”

Click the video above to watch more of Hough’s thoughts on the piece, as well as the performance from the 2013 Proms.

The Colorado Symphony’s program also includes Vaughan Williams’ “Dona Nobis Pacem.” The performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver.