Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto 2 in G, Op. 44 (1880)

Tchaikovsky : Piano Concerto 2, opening

An underappreciated work, completed two years after the first piano concerto. It premiered not in Moscow, but in New York City.

Like Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, this work was heavily cut to their detriment. For the equilibrium of the whole, the concerto must be played as the composer intended. There are some banalities in the first movement, but there are also banalities in the first concerto. The middle, slow movement is superior to the slow movement of the first. It begins as if it were a concerto for violin in Romantic style, changes to a double concerto with ‘cello in the style of Brahms, and then to a triple concerto with the piano in the manner of Beethoven’s triple concerto, the whole then moving along towards a long conclusion that is inimitably balletic in structure. The final movement is to my ear considerably more interesting than the concluding movement of the first.

But, the first does have that exceptional introduction, after which the rest of that concerto struggles not to pale.

Tchaikovsky also wrote a short third concerto and a discursive concert fantasy for piano and orchestra.


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