Khachaturian, Masquerade Waltz

My son and I discovered this piece seven years ago at a concert in Middlesbrough by the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. (A side effect of having been a Bachtrack reviewer is that I can look up all the concerts I went to during that time!) and it somehow manages to be both joyful and tragic – it brings to mind a glamorous ballroom but there’s a sense that this is the last dance on a sinking ship. Possibly a bit too apt for these times, but it still makes me want to get on my feet and be whirled breathlessly around the house in the arms of an imaginary Vronsky or Prince Andrei. It’s a standard choice for lavish cinematic adaptations of Tolstoy, although it was actually written as incidental music to the verse-play Masquerade by Mikhail Lermontov, one of those romantic Russian writers who lived fast and died young, like the characters in his fiction.