Why do we adore Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony so much? Because he speaks directly to us with the orchestra as his voice. Sorrow, joy, passion, triumph, the forces of Fate - it's all there in the music. It's there in the striking dramatic gestures, fabulous melodies and irresistible waltz rhythms; it's there in the sheer intensity of emotion.
Prokofiev's second violin concerto provides the bittersweet balance to Tchaikovsky's indulgence and sees the return to Sydney of Canadian violinist James Ehnes. This is music that requires perfect, understated poise from its soloist. It hides its virtuosity under a thrilling series of melodies - sometimes elegantly singing, sometimes wildly dancing, but always pure Prokofiev. And Thomas S�nderg�rd brings a Scandinavian souvenir in the form of an uplifting overture by Wilhelm Stenhammar (imagine a Swedish Mahler, without the irony).