Despite its popularity, Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto remains refreshingly original with its exciting and altogether exceptional opening and richly forged musical dramas of powerful virtuosity and of uncommon sensitivity. Karabits’ concerto, subtitled Lamentations, takes inspiration from two tragedies that befell Ukraine in the 20th century – the Stalin policy induced famine of 1932-33 and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. Eclectically scored with theatrical gestures, it is modern orchestral music rooted in tradition. In the predominantly meditative Styx, the viola acts as an intermediary between the lands of the living and the dead. It is also the go-between for the orchestra and the chorus, which sings a patchwork text made up of the names of churches, and the titles of folksongs and lullabies from the composer’s native Georgia. Originally composed for solo piano, Balakirev’s virtuosic Islamey is an oriental fantasy inspired by melodies from the Caucasus Mountains.