One example of the very, very few skaters who I feel have done Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 justice is the great pairs team of Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriev, specifically their performance to the Moderato and Adagio sostenuto movements of the concerto on the night of the long program performances at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, one of the greatest nights of pairs skating ever. The wily Tamara Moskvina, knowing that Miskutenok/Dmitriev were up against the technically proper and classically beautiful team of Gordeeva/Grinkov, chose the one piece of music that would display Mishkutenok/Dmitriev's comparatively wild, passionate and less orthodox style to their fullest advantage. "Perfection or passion," opined Scott Hamilton when comparing Gordeeva/Grinkov with Mishkutenok/Dmitriev, and for once he was correct. If there ever was a piece of music in which it felt artistically "right" for Mr. Dmitriev to fling Ms. Mishkutenok wildly into the air like a sack of potatoes in their throw jumps or have a small stumble on his footwork due to his complete emotional abandon in the performance, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 was it.
I of course adore the entire program, but my favorite part is the stormy conclusion. The closing choreography of this program is pure Moskvina Magic and is also one of my favorite bits of pairs choreography ever: Natalia spin, Mr. Dmitriev ripping open his costume to reveal a ~dramatic~ red panel (Yuko Kavaguti can only dream of ripping open her costume with the panache of Mr. Dmitriev), dual back arches, Mr. Dmitriev flinging himself into a wild flying leap into the air while Ms. Mishkutenok prostrates herself in the face of his gloriousness, before the pair comes together again in the final, slam-bang ending pose, all of this set in the midst of the sturm und drang of the Moderato's conclusion.
Perfection or passion? For me, I'd have to agree with Frost: From what I've tasted of desire/
I hold with those who favor fire.