About the program
TCHAIKOVSKY: PIANO CONCERTO NO 1
The piano concerto in B-minor is perhaps the most popular work in Tchaikovsky’s opus, written originally for Nikolai Rubinstein, but the pianist was deterred by the extreme technical difficulties of the piece. The piece was eventually premiered by the new ‘addressee’, Hans von Bülow in Boston in 1875, recognised as a piano virtuoso and conductor among the remarkable musicians of the time. “It is very difficult, but it is worth the effort” – he wrote about the concerto, which soon became a measure of pianist skills. Tchaikovsky himself reworked the B-minor piano concerto in 1889, making it easier to play. Its exceptional richness of tunes and flowing melodies make this work one of the most often played concertos of the romantic repertoire.
BRUCKNER: SYMPHONY NO. 4 (“ROMANTIC”)
Bruckner, recognised as an organ virtuoso, did not enjoy too much initial success in Vienna as a composer of symphonies. In 1873, his second symphony presented in the imperial city by the Philharmonics was heavily criticised. After dedicating the third symphony to Wagner, all the remnants of any benevolence vanished: from this time on, Bruckner was seen in Vienna as an opponent of Brahms and a dangerous Wagner-epigon. Although the fourth symphony and the string quintet in F-major managed to gain some recognition, even among his opponents, in the “match” between Brahms followers and Wagnerians he was classified among the latter until his death. The nickname was used by the composer himself, and his programme to the opening movement is another confirmation of this association: “Mediaeval city – Daybreak – Morning calls sound from the city towers – the gates open – On proud horses the knights burst out into the open, the magic of nature envelops them – forest murmurs – bird song – and so the Romantic picture develops.”