Shchedrin’s exuberant ‘Naughty Limericks’ Concerto for Orchestra of 1963 is a virtuosic orchestral showpiece drawing on the chastushka, Russian folk music’s often-politics-themed answer to the limerick. As evocative of peasant merrymaking as Stravinsky’s Petrushka, but with a darker edge, it offers a madcap-speed walking jazz bass as one of its first sounds, before a constant stream of witty repartee between instruments simulating the verses’ rhyming couplets. Some off its best comedy, though, comes from surprise. Folk music also informed the glittering Rondo-form finale to Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto of 1875, although the overall impression is one of romance, whether in big-boned moments such as those famous opening piano chords, or the lighter scored and sublimely poetic central movement.
with the generous support of
Madame Aline Foriel-Destezet