19:30 Wednesday 13 April
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No.5 “Emperor”
Shostakovich – Symphony No.10
The Fifth Piano Concerto, essentially a three-movement symphony with solo piano, is impressively imperial in scale and impact and represents the culmination of what we have come to think of as Beethoven’s ‘heroic’ manner. It far surpassed any and all other concertos in its expression of majesty and power, immediately established in its opening sonorous orchestral chords which give way to cadenza-like flourishes from the piano.
Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony is forty-eight minutes of tragedy, despair, terror and violence, and two minutes of triumph; a reflection of the Stalin years in Russia, when as many as twenty million people died or else lived in constant fear, and a collective sigh of relief at the dictator’s death just months before the premiere.