Programme Guide

Her mother wanted to make a dancer out of her. But Yuja Wang knew that only one part of her could dance: her fingers. The Chinese pianist’s fingers fly over the piano keys with breath-taking speed. In May 2013, Yuja Wang proved in her debut recital with the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation that – besides stupendous technique – she also has an extraordinary feeling for tonal nuance. She performs here with the Philharmoniker as a soloist for the first time – with Sergei Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, in which virtuoso brilliance is combined with musical depth.

Paavo Järvi conducts this concert. It’s not by chance that he programmed the First Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich: the work, which the 19-year old composer wrote for his finals at the conservatory, shows Prokofiev as role model. All the same, the symphony’s mixture of defiant jocularity and great pathos already bears Shostakovich’s unmistakable signature. The work earned him his first triumphant success. With it, Shostakovich – as Nikolai Malko, the conductor of the premiere stated – began a new chapter in the history of the symphony. Schumann also intended to try out new symphonic forms in his orchestral piece Overture, Scherzo and Finale. He conceived the piece as an alternative design to the “flattened overture style” that, much to Schumann’s disapproval, was highly popular with the general public at the time.

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