Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor op. 18 (1900-01)
Symphony No. 5 in D minor op. 47 (1937)
People react differently in the face of fear. Some decide to take the bull by the horns and find the right doctor. Such a man was Sergei Rachmaninoff, highly celebrated but equally ridden by self-doubt. In his case, it was hypnosis that led him from darkness to light. In a euphoric frenzy, liberated from his worries, he fired his Second Piano Concerto out of his brain and onto the paper – a bright song of triumph over the forces of darkness. For Dmitri Shostakovich, on the other hand, no therapy was of any help – he was trapped in the cauldron of Stalin’s terror. His Fifth Symphony, pompous and blaring, prompted the baffled political leaders to give their approval stamp and claim that the renegade had at last returned, in line with party principles. What they seem to have missed was the message between the lines: The rejoice happens under pressure, the slow movement is a song of hopelessness, and in the finale, death strikes up a sarcastic dance. Honorary conductor Dmitrij Kitajenko leads the way through the depths of the Russian soul.