3rd Symphony Concert //
Soloist: Lise de la Salle, piano
Igor Strawinsky »Fireworks« Phantasy for orchestra op. 4
Sergej Rachmaninow Concerto for piano No. 4 g-minor op. 40
Sergej Prokofjew 5. Symphony B-major op. 100
The first piece of this concert is Stravinsky’s »Fireworks«, which he wrote for his teacher Rimsky-Korsakow’s daughter on the occasion of her wedding to mark the beginning of a new chapter in life. It also marked the beginning of his career; the director of the »Ballet Russe«, Diaghilev, was so taken by Stravinsky’s work that he immediately commissioned the composer to write several ballet compositions.
As for Rachmaninoff, determining whether he should be a composer, pianist or conductor was an irksome question. When he went into exile in the United States in 1917, it appeared he had decided to work on his career as a piano virtuoso. With his 4th piano concerto, Rachmaninoff turned his attention again to larger works. He combined thundering tutti, melancholy solos and jazzy rhythms. His critics couldn’t agree on whether his style was too retro or too modern.
While Rachmaninoff was never to return to Russia, Prokofiev succumbed to his longing to go home and finally moved back to Moscow in 1936. Although he believed art had nothing to do with politics, he was constantly confronted with the cultural political reality of the Stalinist regime and had to adapt his works according to the demands of society. This is evident in the dramatic instrumentation and impressive melodic style of his 5th symphony, composed in 1944 as a »hymn to free and happy people«.