All sympathetic listeners agree that the Second Symphony contains the very best of Rachmaninov. Deliberately paced and rhythmically flexible, it is, above all, propelled by the wonderfully fertile melody of which he was such a master. The orchestral sound is full and rich, but unlike such contemporaries as Strauss and Mahler, Rachmaninov is relatively modest in his orchestral demands. He is also rather un-Russian in his approach to orchestration. Instead of the unmixed colours favoured by so many of his countrymen from Glinka to Shostakovich, Rachmaninov deals in varied shades and combinations, producing a full, sonorous orchestral blend, with horns and low woodwind (particularly the melancholy cor anglais and bass clarinet) supporting the middle of the texture, and the tuba doubling the long-held bass notes that frequently underpin the music.