Piano Concerto No. 2
On 10 May, the Second Piano Concerto was performed for the first time in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory by Maxim Shostakovich and the symphony orchestra of the Moscow State Philharmonic underthe baton of Nikolai Anosov.
1957. Sovetskiy kompozitor Publishers.
RSALA, rec. gr. 2048, inv. 2, f. 6.– manuscript; RSALA, rec. gr. 2048, inv. 3, f. 8—sketch of the first movement; Dmitri Shostakovich’s Archive 1.1.96—sketch of the second movement; 1.1.97—sketch of the third movement.
Dedication: “To Maxim Dmitrievich Shostakovich”
Piano Concerto No. 2
The Second Piano Concerto was written for Shostakovich’s son Maxim, who was going to be graduating from the Central Music School of the Moscow Conservatory in 1957.
On 24 January 1957, the composer said: ‘I am currently finishing the second piano concerto. I think I will finish the 11th symphony in the summer of 1957.’ Evidently he had already finished the piano version of the composition and was working on the score.
Work on the score was finished on 5 February 1957. The author wrote this date in the author’s manuscript of the concerto score kept in his personal depository at RSALA. The date this work began is not given either in the author’s manuscript of the score or the piano score, or in the drafts of the Concerto.
The philharmonic premiere of the new concerto was scheduled for 10 May. But even before the premiere, in April, its hearing was held at the U.S.S.R. Ministry of Culture and the U.S.S.R. Union of Composers on two pianos performed by Maxim Shostakovich (who played the solo piano part) and the composer (who performed the orchestral part). Shostakovich’s fellow composers were enraptured by the composition and called for an encore of the entire concerto.
On 10 May, the Second Piano Concerto was performed for the first time in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory by Maxim Shostakovich and the symphony orchestra of the Moscow State Philharmonic under the baton of Nikolai Anosov. The composition was given a warm reception by the public and critics.
Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto very quickly featured in every repertoire. Two weeks after the premiere it was performed in Czechoslovakia at the Prague Spring Festival. In the 1957/58 concert season, it was played in the U.S., in the autumn of 1958 in England, and later it became the musical basis of many ballet performances (in West Berlin, New York, London, Spoleto, and others).
Some of the outstanding performers who took on this work were Dmitri Alexeyev, Martha Argerich, Eliso Virsaladze, Peter Donahue, Vladimir Krainev, Elizaveta Leonskaya, Eugene List, John Ogdon, Victoria Postnikova, and Mikhail Rud.
Shostakovich included the Second Piano Concerto in his own repertoire the same year the premiere was held. The composer recorded it twice on gramophone records (with Alexander Gauk and André Cluytens) and performed it on many occasions with different orchestras and conductors.
The score of the concerto was published for the first time in 1957, and the author’s arrangement for two pianos was published the same year. The concerto is dedicated to Maxim Dmitriyevich Shostakovich.
The last time Shostakovich performed the Second Piano Concerto was during his appearance in Paris at the Palais de Chaillot, which turned out to be the composer’s very last performance with orchestra (André Cluytens conducted).
- National Orchestra of French Radio and Television. Soloist: D. Shostakovich Conductor: A. Kluitans 1955 // Russian CD R 10 00319 (stereo R10 00321), 1991
- Symphony Orchestra of the Leningrad State Philharmonic. Soloist: V. Krainev. Conductor: A. Dmitriev. 1985 // Le Chant du Monde LDC 278 1011, 1989
- New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Soloist and conductor: Bernstein L. 1958 // Sony Classical SMK 47618, 1993
- St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Soloist: Leonskaya E. Conductor: Wolf H. 1991 // TELDEC 9031-73282-2, 1993
- New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Soloist and conductor: Bernstein L. 1958 // PORTRAIT CBS MPK 44850, 1988
- Air Force Symphony Orchestra. Soloist: Donohaw P. Conductor: Shostakovich M.D. 1982 // BBC RADIO CLASSICS 15656 91702, 1996
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Soloist: Ortiz K. Conductor: Ashkenazi V.D. 1989 // DECCA 425793-2 D H, 1990
- London Philharmonic Orchestra Soloist: Rudy M. Conductor: Jansons M. 1997 // EMI 7243 5 56591 2 5, 1998