MSO Live: Shostakovich on piano
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- Dmitri Shostakovich Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra (1933)
At the beginning of this work, also known as Piano Concerto No. 1, Shostakovich quotes Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23 Appassionata, which was composed immediately before Leonore. Although the concerto has solos parts for piano and trumpet, it is not a true double concerto; rather, the trumpet soloist provides a commentary, flitting in and out throughout the piece. The concerto was first performed in October 1933 with the composer himself at the piano and Alexander Schmidt taking the trumpet solo.
- Jean Sibelius Symphony No. 7
Sebelius’ Symphony No. 7 is the first symphony composed as a single movement. After approximately five minutes, the piece reaches a soaring, heart-warming crescendo that resolves into a simple yet beautiful theme for trombone, which recurs later in the symphony. The melody is somewhat reminiscent of the song "Do You Love Me?” from Fiddler on the Roof; a question asked by the protagonist Tevje of his wife Golde. After Symphony No. 7, Sebelius began work on an eight but later destroyed all of the sketches.
- Dmitri Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2
Shostakovich composed his second symphony for his son Maxim, who premiered the piece during his graduation concert at the Moscow Conservatory in May 1957. Although the first movement is full of breakneck displays of dexterity, strength and stamina, it also contains the odd humorous nod and wink from one pianist to another.
The slow andante middle movement is sweetly melancholic and it is easy to read a certain amount of sentimentality into the music; that said, the emotional notes can also be viewed as comfort and encouragement from a father to a son about to go out into the world. The final movement vacillates between jollity and infernal dance, setting an elegant and explosive full stop at the end of the programme.