Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony Also Featuring Denis Kozhukhin

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2016-17 SeasonHailed as “leader of the pack of Russian pianists,” (Classical Source) Denis Kozhukhin takes on Prokofiev's fiendishly challenging Piano Concerto No. 2, a work he has performed worldwide to rave reviews: “From the spare chill elegance of the first movement’s opening to the keyboard cascades that followed, Kozhukhin had an absolute free-ranging authority.” (The Guardian) Then, experience Rachmaninoff’s romantic Second Symphony as it moves from brooding restraint to wild energy, and is punctuated by unforgettable moments of utmost beauty.

The Thursday Matinee concerts are endowed by a gift in memory of Rhoda Goldman.


San Francisco Symphony



Piano Concerto No. 2


Symphony No. 2

All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.


Rachmaninoff's Symphony No 2

At a Glance

Piano Concerto No. 2
 1913/1924  |  31 mins
“The charges of surface brilliance and certain ‘soccer-player’ tendencies in the First [Piano] Concerto induced me to strive for greater depth in the Second,” Prokofiev once said. If such was his goal, then he most certainly succeeded. His Second Concerto impresses with its variety of moods. It also does not come up short in athletic brilliance, as Prokofiev’s comment might be taken to imply—many believe that technically, it is the most unremittingly taxing of all his piano concertos. Even Prokofiev, who was soloist at its world premiere, experienced anxiety when playing it. In his diary he described what went through his mind when he performed the work in Moscow: “I come out to play in a more or less calm frame of mind. But I do not manage to stay calm during the most difficult parts.”

Symphony No. 2
 1907  |  56 mins
Rachmaninoff used to be criticized for wearing his heart on his sleeve; but, really, who would be so callous as to complain that such music as this enriches our world? The Second Symphony is trademark Rachmaninoff. In the words of one of his contemporaries: “Despite his thirty-four years, [Rachmaninoff] is one of the most significant figures in the contemporary music world, a worthy successor to Tchaikovsky, if not in the dimensions of his talent . . . then certainly in its concentration, sincerity, and subjective delicacy. This was confirmed most impressively by the new E minor Symphony. . . . How beautiful it is!”

Jeanette Yu is Director of Publications at the San Francisco Symphony.





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  1. Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  2. Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 2:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  3. Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 7:30pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  4. Sat, Apr 22, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

Pre- and post-show Events

Inside Music, an informative talk by Scott Foglesong, begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders. Learn More.

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