Friday, January 1, 2021

Tchaikovsky's Other Piano Concerto

When going to bed I like to listen to one of three classical music stations...Houston's own Houston Public Media/ClassicalAll Classical Portland, and Seattle's Classical King FM

I was listening a few nights ago on All Classical Portland and I heard the finale of this great piano concerto-I thought it sounded like in the style of Tchaikovsky but wasn't sure.  And to my surprise, after it had finished with an exciting flourish, the announcer said, this was indeed by Tchaikovsky-his "Second" Piano Concerto. 

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky [1840-1893]
 

Of course, all classical music fans know of his epic ultra-virtuosic Piano Concerto #1 in B-Flat minor with it's famous stirring start:  

How many of you knew this great Russian Romantic composer also had two other piano concertos. In the back of my mind I remembered he had more than just his legendary concerto #1, but I don't think I have actually heard his other two concertos [before the other night on All Classical Portland-hearing #2].  Unless my memory is fading, I believe I have only heard his piano concerto #1 in Jones Hall.  And I am not sure why, when you hear this second piano concerto it is also amazingly difficult and exciting and great to hear. To me this is a great piano concerto.

This concerto has a unique history to it's composition; from Wikipedia:  "was written in 1879-1880 and dedicated to Nikolai Rubinstein, who had insisted he be allowed to perform it at the premiere as a way of making up for his harsh criticism of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto. But Rubinstein was destined never to play it, as he died in March 1881, and the work has never attained much popularity.

Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto #2 is scored in G-Major with 3 movements: 1. Allegro Brillante, 2. Andante non troppo, and 3. Allegro con fucco. 

In this video the great Yuja Wang puts on amazing performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto and when you hear her encore you will go WOW!  It is an improvisation in her own variation of Mozart's rondo "Alla Turca".  So, please don't leave after the concerto is over but stay for her encore. In this video, Maestro Valery Gergiev leads the M√ľnchner Philharmoniker, with Yang as soloist. 

Please turn up the volume, play in full screen, and enjoy Tchaikovsky's "other" [one of his other] piano concerto.

P.I. Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto #2 in G-Major [with a Yuja Wang encore-variation of Mozart's "Rondo Alla Turca"]:

Was that great virtuosity demonstrated by Yuja Wang or what?  :-) 

 

 

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