Fearing for his life and bowing to pressure from the brutal Stalinist state, Shostakovich wrote his Fifth Symphony to appease the authorities. It was hugely successful – the government was pleased that the rebel had knuckled under, beguiled by its grandeur, beauty and final rousing march, but to many the triumph rang hollow and the Russian in the street saw the truth behind the façade. Brimming with lyricism and unbridled energy, Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto is his most engaging. With its vigorous, percussive themes, moments of sweeping grandeur, angularity and brilliance, it was a break from the Romantic concertos of the past. Composed for a pantomime, Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin is a parable about lust, power relations and the fear of the strange. In turns brutal, frenetic, intense and dream-like, the music is some of his most experimental.
Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin Suite
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3
Shostakovich: Symphony No.5
Kirill Karabits, Alexander Gavrylyuk
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra