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Brief Encounters

25 June Corn Exchange King's Lynn 3.30 pm

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2

                            Viv McLean - Piano

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11

The two mighty works in this programme are both referred to as “cinematic”, although in neither case was this intended by the composer. Rachmaninov’s gorgeous Piano Concerto No.2 brought the composer great success at its premiere in 1901 but, to many people, it will always be best known in its guise as soundtrack to David Lean’s 1945 film Brief Encounter.

Another brief encounter, a much darker one, took place on 22nd January 1905 in St Petersburg when unarmed protesters were fired on and massacred by members of the Imperial Guard. This “Bloody Sunday” led to the 1905 Revolution and it is the subject of Shostakovich’s titanic 11th Symphony. This has been described as “a film score without a film” as it depicts the events of the day in one huge sweep of narrative sound. As with so many of this composer’s major works, it is many-layered and holds coded references to more contemporary events - Shostakovich’s own son is said to have asked him “Papa, what if they hang you for this…”.