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Following a long period of depression, Rachmaninoff composed his Piano Concerto No. 2, which marked his joyous return to the world of music. He performed as the soloist at its premiere. For this concert in Tivoli, his countrywoman Olga Kern, already a favourite with Danish audiences, throws herself into the dramatic, heartfelt music which has long been a staple of piano recitals. Kern can trace her family tree back to Rachmaninoff himself – a remarkable coincidence that in no way overshadows her own, outstanding performances at the piano.
Mussorgsky was very interested in national romanticism in Russian folk music, and his music paints a variety of wonderful Russian pictures – particularly his famous piano work Pictures at an Exhibition, which was arranged for the orchestra by Ravel. And Russia is also the theme of the entire afternoon's music, inspired by the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The concert therefore starts with a short, less well-known work by Shostakovich: October, which was composed in 1967 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Revolution – but with Shostakovich's characteristic musical ambivalence to the heroic aspects of the story.
Dmitri Shostakovich: October, Symphonic Poem, op. 131
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition