Vladimir Ashkenazy conductor
Daniel Kharitonov piano
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1
Shostakovich Symphony No. 10
We’re thrilled to be welcoming back the great conductor and pianist, Vladimir Ashkenazy, for this visit by the Philharmonia. He brings with him music by two composers with whom he’ll be forever associated. Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto emerged from a summer break in 1890, the young composer modelling it on Grieg’s, but then revising it substantially nearly 30 years later. Youthful high spirits run free throughout, with sprung rhythms reflecting its impetuous spirit. It’s a perfect fit for our soloist, Daniel Kharitonov, one of the brightest rising stars of his generation. Shostakovich completed his Tenth Symphony just a few months after the death of Stalin, under whose shadow the composer had worked for much of his career. The dictator’s grip is felt through much of the symphony, particularly in the furious five-minute scherzo which tears into the heart of this 20th-century masterpiece. But Shostakovich also celebrates the resilience of the artist in the face of oppression and etches his initials – D-S-C-H – into the symphony’s subtext, shouting them loudly in the defiantly upbeat finale.
Free pre-concert talk, 6.30pm in the auditorium: Vladimir Ashkenazy in conversation.