Among the friendliest of Shostakovich’s works is the Concertino for Two Pianos that he composed in 1954 for his gifted son Maxim, then a 15-year-old student at the Central Music School, the preparatory division of the Moscow Conservatory. Maxim premiered the work at an all-Shostakovich concert on November 8, 1954 with fellow student Alla Maloletkova; father and son later subsequently recorded the Concertino together.
he Concertino, tailored in its technique for the advanced student, is laid out in sonata form with introduction. Two sharply contrasted motives—an ominous unison theme in dotted rhythms and a hymn-like strain—alternate in the introduction in a manner reminiscent of the slow movement of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto (in which Franz Liszt discerned 'Orpheus Taming the Furies'). The main theme is in the nature of a zesty march; the second theme turns the dotted rhythms and stepwise motion of the introduction’s opening motive into a spirited quick-step. The return of the hymnal phrase from the introduction provides a bridge to the recapitulation of the earlier themes. The final recall of the hymnal phrase not only marks the arrival at the coda, but also provides a quiet foil for the brief but excited dash to the end.
This video was recorded on April 26, 2013 at the "Piano Ecstasy' concert presented by Soundstreams at Koerner Hall in Toronto, Canada. Performed by: James Parker and Christina Petrowska Quilico.
Learn about Soundstreams commissions catalogue on our SoundMakers website: soundmakers.ca
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