Flowers in the concrete

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Tuesday, October 29, 7.30PM
Leighton House Museum
12 Holland Park Road, London, W14 8LZ

Philippe Quint
, violin
Leonard Elschenbroich, cello
José Gallardo, piano

Illustrated talk by Stephen Johnson

Schnittke — Suite in Old Style for violin and piano
Prokofiev — Sonata No.2 in D major, Op.94a
Shostakovich — Trio No.2 in E Minor

Despite the devastation of World War Two and the oppressive rigidity of Stalin’s Communism, exquisite artistic flowers continued to bloom in Soviet Russia. Prokofiev’s Second Violin Sonata emerged just as the tide of war began to turn in Russia’s favour, but it breathes air from another, far happier world. Elegant, lyrical, witty, and serene, it holds out hope of what might lie on the distant borders of possibility. Thirty years later Alfred Schnittke reworked music from his film scores into his Suite in the Old Style, a touching evocation of eighteenth-century Classicism, beautiful, but as Schnittke deftly reveals, ultimately impossible. Shostakovich’s magnificent Second Piano Trio, however, looks the worst squarely in the face. War, tyranny, terrible suffering – it’s all here, yet this work offers another kind of hope: that music can help the tears of grief to flow, and perhaps even provide resolution.