Lionel Bringuier returns to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to conduct a concert entitled “In the Face of Adversity”. Mr. Bringuier leads this prolific ensemble through two famed works by Russian composers: Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff. Acclaimed Ukrainian violinist, Valery Sokolov, joins the ensemble on stage for the first half of the concert.
On October 30, the evening’s program will begin with Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with soloist Valery Sokolov. Shostakovich composed this work during a time of severe censorship in post-war Soviet Russia, withholding to publish the concerto until after Stalin’s death. Bringuier says of the concerto:
“It’s a very dark work and you have to find the right atmosphere for it. We feel in the music this sense of oppression, which was there in Shostakovich’s everyday experience. That was part of him, something I think he felt until the end of his life. The Shostakovich and Rachmaninov go together very well. Both works move the audience from darkness to light.”
The concert concludes with Rachmaninoff’s stirring second symphony. One of his best-loved compositions, the composer struggled greatly to finish the score due to harsh critiques of his first symphony. His second symphony has been subject to revisions over time due to its length, but Bringuier has chosen to conduct the work in its entirety saying:
“Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony is one of my favourites in the whole repertoire. After his First Symphony’s disastrous premiere in 1897, he was still tortured by self-doubt when he wrote its successor a decade later. I’ve been in love with Rachmaninov’s music for many years. To play the Second Symphony in London with this great orchestra will be very emotional for me. I perform the complete work without the cuts that are sometimes made, simply because I love every note of it. I could not imagine cutting this masterpiece. It’s so intense and passionate! I was a cellist and always felt very comfortable playing this repertoire. Sometimes it feels as if I’m still playing when I conduct the work.”
For more information and tickets, visit the Southbank Centre website.