The atmospheric opening of Sibelius’ only concerto casts an immediate spell of mystery. The solo violin emerges out of a murmuring bed of strings, with a long, yearning theme of ever-growing intensity, which continues to be developed throughout before reaching the thrilling, pulsing finale. After a shaky start, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony soon became recognised for the masterpiece it undoubtedly is. He wrote that its subject was “Providence”, more specifically it is a journey from darkness and despair into light and triumph, accomplished partly by the musical character of the individual movements, and partly through a recurring ‘motto’ theme, which appears in different guises. Beethoven’s heroic overture conveys the essence of a profound drama with unforgettable intensity, maintaining a tone of tragedy throughout.