Russian pianist Ilia Papoian performs Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18, with St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Titov. Recorded at St Petersburg Music House on January 24, 2018.
Rachmaninov composed his Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor in 1900, and played the first complete performance on November 9, 1901, with Alexandre Siloti conducting the Moscow Philharmonic Society.
He suffered a shattering career crisis in the 1897 massacre of his First Symphony in St Petersburg, by its first conductor, Glazunov, who was reportedly disablingly drunk – a fiasco the critics en masse, led by César Cui, laid at the composer's feet like an animal carcass. The audience – ever mindful that Rachmaninov had been expelled in 1885 from the local temple of musical instruction – listened stonily, glad for the failure of a young lion schooled elsewhere (in Moscow, he completed the Conservatory course in 1891, and graduated a year later with highest possible grades). Because of the failure of the Symphony No.1, Rachmaninov began to drink immoderately. Believing himself unfit to compose, he tried concentrating on parallel courses as a concert soloist and opera conductor, but embroiled himself in a love affair that ended very badly. By the end of 1899, he was an alcoholic whose hands shook, imperiling his keyboard career. Between January and April 1900, Sergei Vassilyevich saw Dr. Dahl, a Moscow specialist in "neuropsychotherapy", daily, and was urged under hypnosis to compose the new piano concerto that a London impresario was asking for. Trance therapy roused the composer from his lethargy; indeed, he worked with great facility on an excellent new concerto – the Second, in C minor, Op.18 – dedicated to Dr. Dahl in gratitude. Never again in the remaining four decades of his life was Rachmaninov immobilized by depression, despite several convulsive changes of fortune.
The opening, C minor, movement in sonata form was composed last; structurally it is the most conventional. Ten bars of unaccompanied keyboard chords lead directly to a palpitant principal theme for violins, violas, and clarinets – motivic rather than tuneful, despite a melismatic extension for cellos. An episode links this to the second theme, in E flat, one of Rachmaninov's most celebrated melodies, introduced by the piano. Following the development and a maestoso alla marcia reprise, there's a brilliant coda – but no solo cadenza, yet.
In the E major, Adagio sostenuto movement, after four bars of Tchaikovskian string chords, piano arpeggios introduce a two-part principal theme, played first by the solo flute, then by the solo clarinet. Piano and orchestra develop both parts before a Tchaikovsky-like theme for bassoons nudges the tempo a bit. Further development goes even quicker, culminating in a solo cadenza that's been teasingly postponed, after which the original material returns, soulfully.
The finale is an Allegro scherzando in C major. The strings play a rhythmic figure that builds to a staccato climax. The piano enters with a flourish, setting up the principal subject – again, as before in I, motivic rather than tuneful, but admirably constructed for developing. This is followed by another of Rachmaninov's signature melodies, lushly undulant, sung by the solo oboe and strings. (In the postwar 1940s, this was garnished with words and performed unrelentingly by big-band vandals as Full Moon and Empty Arms). A fugato brings back the principal subject, followed by a Maestoso statement of "The Tune". Accelerating fistfuls of piano chords set up a crowd-rousing conclusion.
Source: Roger Dettmer (allmusic.com)
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
♪ Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18 (1900-1901)
ii. Adagio sostenuto
iii. Allegro scherzando
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
♪ Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. posth. (1830)
Ilia Papoian, piano
St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Alexander Titov
St Petersburg Music House, January 24, 2018
Ilia Papoyan was born in 2001 in St Petersburg and began studying music at the age of seven. From 2009 to 2011 he studied at the Rachmaninov Children's School of Art (Class of Gemma Sedletskaya). In 2011 he entered the special music school of the St Petersburg State Conservatory (Class of Olga Kurnavina and Professor Alexander Sandler).
Ilia is a laureate of many international piano competitions. Among them are the International Chopin Competition in St Petersburg (2nd prize, 2010), the International Competition of Young Pianist dedicated to the Work of '"Fryderyk Chopin" in Narva (1st prize, 2016), the International Bach Competition (2nd prize, 2013), the International Music Competition "Music Anyday" in Moscow (1st prize, 2015), and the X International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Astana, Kazakhstan (2nd prize, 2017). In May 2016 Ilia became the diploma winner of the Grand Piano Competition which took place in Moscow.
Ilia has already performed in various concert halls in St Petersburg: in the Dmitri Shostakovich St Petersburg Academic Philharmonia, in the Small Hall of the Rimsky-Korsakov St Petersburg State Conservatory as well as in the State Academic Capella. Every year he performs with the symphony orchestra on the stage of the State Philharmonia for Children and Youth.
He has participated in master classes with Andrey Diev and Gregory Gruzman. Member of the St Petersburg Music House programs since 2016.
Source: eng.spdm.ru / emcy.org
The Russian conductor Alexander Titov (b. 1954, St Petersburg) studied at the Leningrad State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire, where he concentrated on three distinct fields: choral conducting (class of Professor A. Mikhailov) and piano (class of Professor V. Gentsler) graduating in 1976, and operatic-symphonic conducting (in the class of Professor Ilya Musin) graduating in 1981. In 1988 he was a prize-winner of the International Min-On Competition in Tokyo.
In 1976 he began his conducting career as assistant to Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Mstislav Rostropovich, and has since become one of Russia's leading conductors. From 1989 to present he is Conductor of Mariinsky (former Kirov) Opera and Ballet Theatre. He is a regular Guest Conductor with the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra (since 1991), Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra (since 2002), and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (since 1993). In addition, he has worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and all he leading St Petersburg symphony orchestras, including the Symphony Orchestra of Saint Petersburg Philharmonia, the St Petersburg Festival Orchestra, the St Petersburg New Classical Orchestra, the St Petersburg Chamber Orchestra "Canon," and the St Petersburg Conservatory Chamber Orchestra.
In 1981 Alexander Titov assumed the post of lecturer in opera and symphonic conducting at the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory of St Petersburg. In July-August 1990 he participated in Tanglewood International Conductors' Seminar (USA).
Alexander Titov has toured widely, with visits to the USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Holland, Finland, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Japan, China - Hong-Kong, Columbia, Brazil, Latvia, and other countries, and has made appearances in the world's leading opera theatres, such as La Scala, La Fenice, Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, and San Francisco Opera. He works regularly with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, notably on the orchestra's ground-breaking tour of China in November 2000.
Alexander Titov is the recipient of the Golden Masque Prize (2001), St Petersburg's highest prize in theatrical arts Golden Soffit for the best conductor's work (2002), and the Fortissimo Prize initiated by the St Petersburg Conservatoire (2003). He has recorded over 70 CD's, with a huge and diverse canon drawn from the classical, romantic, and contemporary periods. He has placed particular emphasis on the symphonic, operatic, and ballet repertoires of Russian composers – including Glinka, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Schnittke. This interest extends to works of contemporary Russian composers.
The St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1967 by Nikolai Rabinovich, Edward Grikurov, and Karl Eliasberg, and until 1985 it was nicknamed the "Orchestra of Ancient and Modern Music", due to its concentration on early music and new works. Led for ten years by Edward Serov, the orchestra toured throughout the Soviet Union and internationally, and performed at many music festivals. In 1985, the ensemble was elevated to state orchestra status, under the leadership of Ravil Martynov. He toured with the orchestra in China, Japan, Germany, Austria, Spain, Finland, Norway, Sweden, France, Belgium, and Mexico. Vasily Petrenko was the chief conductor from 2004 to 2007, followed by Alexander Titov from 2007 to 2013. From 2008 to 2014, the principal guest conductor was Vladimir Lande, who took the orchestra on tour to the United States, Latin America, and South Korea. He was succeeded by Walter Proost in 2014. The orchestra has recorded for Marco Polo and Naxos.
Source: Blair Sanderson (allmusic.com)
Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor – Sergei Redkin, St Petersburg State Capella Symphony Orchestra, Sergei Roldugin (HD 1080p)
Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor – Yuja Wang, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Yuri Termikanov (HD 1080p)