Although Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 of 1880 was less well received than his First, he viewed it himself as one of his finest works. Outer movements are multicoloured creations full of sparkling piano writing. Then most distinctive is a languorous slow movement featuring such prominent, extended solos for violin and cello that really it becomes a concerto for piano trio. By contrast, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 of 1944 was both an instant success, and coincided with a thaw in the Soviet authorities’ attitude to him—reflected perhaps by its serene opening theme. Still, possible references to authoritarian oppression include the second movement Scherzo’s use of a dance discarded from Romeo and Juliet, or towards the end of the final movement the way the theme keeps getting cut off, and maniacal, mechanical ostinatos increasingly dominating.
with the generous support of
Madame Aline Foriel-Destezet