Mikhail Pletnev, Gábor Takács-Nagy and the Concerto Budapest

Glinka: Ruslan and Lyudmila – Overture
Rachmaninov: Concerto for Piano in F sharp minor, no. 1, op 1
Tchaikovsky: Symphony in G minor, no. 1, (Winter Daydreams), op. 13

Mikhail Pletnev piano
Conductor: Gábor Takács-Nagy

Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila is an opera based on a poem by Pushkin. Moreover, it is one of the first emblematic pieces of the Russian classical musical style. Its more popular part is the explosive and energetic Overture, the main theme of which makes use of the jubilant chorus of Act 5. At the same time, the love theme of Ruslan’s aria also appears played by the low string instruments. The next pieces are two from the first harvest, both of which are rarely played Russian orchestral works. Enchanted by Grieg’s piano concerto, Rachmaninov composed his first Concerto for Piano at the age of 17. This piece differs much from his second and third concerti. Although the first lacks outstanding melodies, it surprises the audience with its youthful vividness and drive. Mendelssohn and Schumann, both famous western contemporary composers, inspired the 26-year-old Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1. His former professor, Anton Rubinstein, sent it back to the composer to correct and re-compose it after vehement criticism. The piece was performed only much later with huge success. Critics appreciated the orchestration and its pure Russian tone. “Although it is still immature in many respects, it is more meaningful and better than any of my more mature pieces,” Tchaikovsky stated in one of his letters with the favouritism of a man talking about his first child.