An evening dedicated to Russian music! Mikhail Glinka, its progenitor, took Pushkin’s fairy tale Ruslan and Lyudmila and made it into an entire opera, which premiered in 1842. The overture was composed last. Taking its motifs from throughout the opera, Glinka himself said he had "written it into the score ready-orchestrated". Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky’s 1st piano concerto has themes that you may find impossible to get out of your head. It was hotly discussed during Tchaikovsky’s lifetime: his friend the pianist Nikolai Rubinstein thought the concerto a "miserable" composition, while Hans von Bülow described it as "captivating and perfectly formed". In 1945 Russia celebrates the victorious end of the Great Patriotic War. Dmitri Shostakovich is expected to produce a hymn of praise to Stalin’s Red Army, outdoing the pathos of Beethoven’s
Ninth. But Shostakovich’s Ninth falls short of all expectations. The composer expresses the people’s joy in a transparently classical symphony: humorous, witty – and ironic.