One of the great Romantic symphonies and a cornerstone of Russian music, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5 presents the ultimate journey from darkness to light with a triumphant conclusion. The use of the recurring Fate theme as an emotional core, though common for the composer, paints new orchestral colours in each movement with intensity and purpose. Its frequent use hints also at a deep anxiety that plagued the composer, underlying even when the sullen fourth movement is broken by a glorious E major finale.
Brahms’ Double Concerto written for violin, cello and orchestra makes for an exquisite first half with RPO Leader Duncan Riddell and Principal Cello Richard Harwood. A masterpiece of virtuosic writing and instrumentation, Brahms’ last orchestral work set new boundaries for the possibilities of the concerto form.