Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26 (1921) 28′
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93 (1946-1953) 50′
Barcelona Symhony Orchestra (OBC)
Isata Kanneh-Mason, piano
Anja Bihlmaier, conductor
Following his sarcastic Symphony No. 9, when the establishment was expecting a musical celebration of Russia’s military victory over Germany, Dmitri Shostakovich rose above the hostile atmosphere and wrote Symphony No. 10, premiered in the same year that Stalin died. Shortly before, he had been fired from the Conservatory and accused of being a “formalist” and enemy of the people. His Symphony No. 10 contrasted with this in its triumphal success, and it led to years of huge national and international acclaim. Nonetheless, official Soviet circles never understood this work, with its lack of heroism or its conciliatory images and enigmatic backdrop, even though it is an outstanding work by one of the 20th century’s greatest symphony composers.
Sergei Prokofiev was also branded a “formalist” when he premiered his Piano Concerto No. 3 in Chicago three years after abandoning Russia. The composer’s music for piano includes some of his most inspired works, always marked by an ironic attitude to tradition. The aggressive use of rhythm, irresistible lyricism, and the soloist’s virtuoso interplay with the orchestra have made this one of Prokofiev’s most popular works.