Concerto No.2 in G, Op.44

In some circles, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 is thought to be superior to his ever-popular First, one of the most played and recorded concertos ever written. Still, defenders of the Second must concede to certain imperfections; the first two movements, for example, are rather long for their material. The latter, in fact, was heavily abridged by Rachmaninov's cousin, Alexander Siloti. The concerto was actually published in this cut edition, which was for a time quite popular. This mammoth three-movement work, performances of which typically exceed three-quarters of an hour begins with a proud theme first stated in the orchestra, then by the piano in big chords. A warm, romantic alternate theme, introduced partially by the clarinet, is taken up by the piano. Eventually Tchaikovsky introduces a brief cadenza, and soon afterward a massive cadenza appears, the main theme permeating it, often in subtle guises. A reprise initiated by the orchestra follows, with a brilliant coda closing the movement.

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