One of the most recognisable piano concertos in the world, Rachmaninov’s second is also a moving account of mental struggle.
Dedicated to the man who saved him from a desperate downwards
spiral, Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto was a significant personal
and professional success. The rhapsodic showpiece has been adored since
its premiere at the turn of the 20th century.
Exquisite and stormy, complex and romantic, it is full of great
sweep and drama, but also moments of almost painful fragility. The trope
of the temperamental artist may be a worn one, but it’s vital to the
genesis of this work, and to an understanding of the man who created
Rachmaninov, like many artists, was incredibly sensitive to
criticism; he completely shut down as a composer after the negative
reaction to his First Symphony, and fell into a deep depression that
lasted several years. Without the therapy he undertook with physician
Nikolai Dahl, he might have fallen into obscurity as a piano teacher.
The piano concerto, which he dedicated to Dahl, represents his first
steps towards recovery.
Tchaikovsky’s fear of failure was akin to Rachmaninov’s. A
relatively unsuccessful premiere of his Fourth Symphony evoked an
anxiety in him to prove, not only to his audience, but to himself, that
he could create another work of critical acclaim. Although the response
to his Symphony No.5 was mixed, today the piece is one of his most-loved
Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski, under the baton of
Finnish–Ukrainian conductor Dalia Stasevska, will demonstrate music’s
power to face despair and doubt, and transform it into something
The MSO opens this program with the world premiere of a new work by Cybec Young Composer in Residence Jordan Moore.