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Kochanovsky in Brussels with Belgian National Orchestra

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The Mighty Handful, a group of five prominent Russian composers, including Nikolaï Rimsky-Korsakov, set out to create and preserve pure Russian music. So you can see how a title such as Capriccio Espagnol would be unexpected in this context. And yet, the interest in exotic, different music styles is typical of the Five – defining the Other to strengthen one’s own identity.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky did not endorse the convictions of the Five, even though they all remained friendly with each other’s. Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony is not interested in national boundaries and beliefs, but is a purely abstract musical masterpiece that should not be missed.

Music is inspired by huge political and nationalist themes, but also by universal human emotions. Out of respect and sorrow Prokofiev dedicated his Concerto No. 2 to fellow student, friend and pianist Max Schmidthof, who committed suicide. The Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky is the soloist in this tribute.