Darkness and light, optimism and despair, anger and contentedness - each seems so close to the other in these three masterworks that aren't always as they seem.
The glistening brilliance of Prokofiev's 'Classical' Symphony was actually created under political circumstances far more attuned to the angry and often bitter elegies that haunt Elgar's still beautiful Cello Concerto.
Few of Sibelius' symphonies are as consistently thick and embracing as his Second, but even in the huge, hymn-like yearning the composer conjures at the music's apex, he appears to be striving for something he knows is unattainable.
Southbank Centre: Royal Festival HallBelvedere Road
London Greater London United Kingdom SE1 8XX