Concertino for Two Pianos
Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire. Performers: A. Maloletkova and M. Shostakovich.
1955. "Muzfond" Publishers, Moscow.
Hand-written score in RNMM (Stack 32, Item 76).
Allegro (performed without a break).
Concertino for Two Pianos
Shostakovich wrote this work for his son Maxim, who was studying at the time at the Central Music School at the Moscow Conservatory.
We do not know the exact time the composer worked on the Concertino.
In the summer and autumn of 1953, Shostakovich was working intensively on finishing the tenth Symphony, op. 93. The score of the symphony was completed on 25 october. Keeping this in mind, as well as the fact that the Concertino was numbered op. 94, it can be assumed that it was composed in November or the beginning of December. But it is possible that the composer worked on this composition earlier, at the same time as he was writing the symphony.
The Concertino was first performed in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory on 20 January 1954. It was performed by students of the Central Music School at the Moscow Conservatory, Maxim Shostakovich and Alla Maloletkova. The premiere of the Concertino in Leningrad was held on 15 January 1955 in the Small Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic (performed by the same duet).
‘Intending this piece for young performers, the composer did not make any allowances for age and did not make use of any external illustrative-graphic techniques to achieve simplicity,’ noted the pianist, Adolf Gotlieb, part of a piano duet that was famous in those years. ‘The Concertino was written with great understanding of an adolescent’s spiritual life. The reflections of a young boy reaching maturity, the feeling of broiling emotions striving for expression, young passion—these are the images that arise when listening to this piece.’ After noting that the composition was ‘excellently performed’ by the young musicians, he predicted that adult musicians would also take great pleasure in performing the Concertino, and added in this respect that the second piano part ‘was a little reminiscent of the orchestral accompaniment’ and ‘a certain amount of redistribution of the music would give the parts equal value’.
In 1956, the composer recorded the Concertino in an ensemble with his son.
As early as the 1950s, this composition became widely featured in the instructional and concert repertoire, and it remained one of the most popular compositions of this genre throughout the 20th century.
In 1980, the ballet Celebration was staged to the music of the Concertino in the USA (Chicago, the Auditorium Theatre). The ballet master was Gerald Arpino, it was performed by a troupe from the Joffrey Ballet, and the premiere was held on 15 May.
- D. Shostakovich, M. Shostakovich. 1956 // Melodiya D 3036-7, 1956
- S. Tanyel, Brown J. 1985 // CHANDOS 8466, 1987
- Dussault T., Polusmyak S. 1997 // SC 53008, 1997