Stravinsky – Scherzo fantastique (14’)
Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 25, K503 (30’)
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4 (41’)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s life was as giddy and as turbulent as his music. Constantly wracked by romantic trauma (he endured an unhappy marriage to conceal his homosexuality), his emotional state cascading between moments of euphoria and spells of desperate depression, he died young: officially of cholera, though rumours abound that the real cause of death was suicide. There’s something of this rollercoaster ride through life in his Fourth Symphony – and indeed, Tchaikovsky himself admitted that the first movement is designed to represent the way in which ‘all life is an unbroken alternation of hard reality with swiftly passing dreams and visions of happiness’.
That’s the darkness in this evening’s BBC Philharmonic programme, with the light provided by two very different works by giants from different eras. Before Paul Lewis takes the soloist’s role in Mozart’s elegant 25th Piano Concerto, conductor Ben Gernon opens the programme with just the second work completed by Igor Stravinsky, the sparkling Scherzo fantastique.
Paul Lewis – piano
Ben Gernon – conductor