Anna Clyne - The Midnight Hour Shostakovich - Piano concerto no. 2, soloist Simon Callaghan Tchaikovsky - Symphony no. 4 The concert opens with Anna Clyne’s ‘This Midnight Hour’, inspired by the poetry of Baudelaire and Jimenez, and described by critics as ‘strange and beautiful’ and ‘brilliant, lyrical and resonant’. Dmitri Shostakovitch gave his son Maxim a piano concerto for his 19th birthday - not a gift every father could come up with. Maxim premiered the work at his graduation from the Moscow Conservatoire in 1957, and it has remained one of the composer’s most popular works. Not surprisingly, the work sounds youthful, energetic and cheerful. An even more substantial present was Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony, which was completed in 1878 and dedicated to his correspondent, confidante and patron Mme von Meck, with the inscription ‘to my best friend’. Mme von Meck persuaded Tchaikovsky to provide a ‘programme’ for the work, which he summarised as ‘all of life is harsh reality, with only fleeting dreams of happiness’. These rather gloomy sentiments underly a powerfully expressive work full of beautiful Tchaikovsky melodies and brilliant orchestration. CCSO is conducted by Robert Hodge.