BSO: Pole Position
Thu 24 Jan 2013
£12 - £36
Borodin : Prince Igor Overture
Shostakovich : Cello Concerto No.1
Tchaikovsky : Symphony No.3 “Polish”
Conductor : Kirill Karabits
Soloist: Johannes Moser (Cello)
The Overture for Prince Igor was among the last items to which Borodin gave his attention. It begins with an atmospheric, morning-mist introduction that lead without pause into the main part of the overture, heralded by snapping blasts from the brass using motifs heard in the opera as fanfares for the Polovtsian warriors. It continues with a host of lively dances and bold Russian themes.
Shostakovich composed this magnificent concerto for his great friend Mstislav Rostropovich. Inspired by Prokofievs Sinfonia Concertante, it had a light, transparent scoring which highlights the intense cello lines to the full. Although the concerto consists of four movements, it is divided into two large parts; the opening movement (described by Shostakovich as a jocular march), dark with a grotesque and acerbic humour, is rudely punctuated by four loud blows on the timpani. The three remaining movements, played without pause, comprise a sad, reflective interlude, an extended cadenza and breathless, fierce and fiery finale.
Tchaikovskys Third Symphony, written during the summer of 1875, is a neglected gem. Perhaps it is because it has few of the agonised outpourings characteristic of his three symphonies to follow. This is unashamedly cheerful (it is the only one of his symphonies in a major key) and is without any programmatic content. The mood is stately and confident, with development sections that demonstrate technical mastery rather than tension and conflict. At its centre is one of the most romantic pieces of music that Tchaikovsky ever wrote.