I cannot conceive of music that expresses absolutely nothing.
- Bela Bartok
Seductive and scandalous, Bartok's score to ballet The Miraculous Mandarin left the piece banned in Germany after it's premiere, though luckily audiences have been more lenient in later years. A tale laden with debauchery, enjoy a recital of the ballet's passion-filled suite alongside two works inspired by very different climates in Russian history, Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No.1 and Borodin's Symphony No.2.
Often referred to as his greatest work, Borodin's Symphony No.2 evokes an ancient Russia where Knights adventure - a connotation that gives it its nickname the 'heroic' symphony. In contrast, Shostakovich had to keep his Violin Concerto No.1 hidden from the public and the Soviet regime after his denunciation. When Stalin died in 1953, it was published and is now one of the world's most popular pieces for piano, proving that art can endure in the face of fascism.