News - 22 Nov 2023

Introducing the phwealth concert ‘Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto’ Conductor Umberto Clerici

I’m very happy to be returning to the DSO after playing 'Elgar's Cello Concerto' almost 10 years ago and conducting a wonderful programme last year. What I love about DSO is the huge range of different experiences within the musicians of the orchestra: this produces a special fabric of social and musical interactions. There might be some players who have never played a Schumann symphony and others who have played the 1st 'Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto' many times in their career.

At the end of September 1850, Schumann took a train trip to Cologne where he could visit the cathedral which had recently been completed (it had been under construction since 1248).

The first movement of his 3rd symphony depicts the landscape of the Rhineland from the train, with the swagger and swing of the horns vaulting over the rest of the orchestra, belting out the movement’s majestic first theme.

The three central movements function as interludes, capturing different moods and suggesting different scenes: the second is a scherzo, originally called “Morning on the Rhine,” capturing the relaxed atmosphere of an autumnal nature. The third movement is a slow intermezzo – with winds and horns sounding a lyrical melody, over a string accompaniment – that reminds us of Schumann’s song writing.

In the fourth movement he commemorated the solemn splendour of the cathedral, simulating an organ played in a big and resonant space. Schumann originally titled it “In the character of an accompaniment to a solemn ceremony,” and the symphony ends with a massive fanfare for brass and winds.

On Christmas Eve of 1874, 24 years later, Tchaikovsky played his First Piano Concerto for the piano virtuoso Nicholas Rubinstein. Despite him being one of the composer’s strongest supporters till then, his reaction to it was described in a letter by Tchaikovsky in these terms: “I played the first movement. Never a word, never a single remark. I continued the run-through, but there was still no reaction from the stone-faced Rubinstein. Well? I asked, and rose from the piano. Then a torrent broke from Rubinstein’s lips, gentle at first, gathering volume as it proceeded, and finally bursting into the fury of a Jupiter. My Concerto was worthless, absolutely unplayable; the passages so broken, so disconnected, so unskillfully written, that they could not even be improved …”

Incredible for one of the most famous piano concertos of all time, right??? And I’m delighted to present an amazing soloist, a dear friend of mine, Konstantin Shamray.

Before all this we will start with Beethoven describing the story of Coriolan who is about to invade Rome and his mother who is trying to convince him to desist.

What can be more exciting? See you there!

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