Watch the concert here:
For those of us not able to attend in person, Met’s usual Saturday broadcast next time will be Shostakovich’s Nose. Here’s a preview and an interview with the director/set designer William Kentridge:
Here’s a nice late Shostakovich piece that I’ve rediscovered lately and would like to share with the general public. The figure of Stepan Razin is, of course, historically very interesting and significant, but this music is just so haunting and so heroic, even my sarcastic trollish heart is moved, even if ever so slightly: Continue reading
Please, stop it, I cannot take more of this awesomeness – BBC Proms bring us even more Shostakovich:
The BBC Symphony Orchestra (first part is Xenakis’s Ais, then Shostakovich)
David Robertson (conductor)
Shostakovich: Symphony No 9 in E flat.
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Mariss Jansons (conductor)
Shostakovich: Symphony No 10 in E minor.
I was reading Barenboim’s Music Quickens Time between classes yesterday – a rather disappointing read, I must admit – and came across the usual stuff about how Shostakovich’s music, when it is gloomy and slow, demonstrated the burden of living under the oppressive Soviet rule. I thought then of the 9th symphony and all the cheerful music Shostakovich wrote, it must be then that he was celebrating the excitement of living under the Soviet rule, right?
Having done 11th with Bychkov the other day, BBC Proms gives us 8th symphony (it’ll be available for 7 days to listen online here), conducted by Valery Gergiev – this symphony was written in 1943 – again, you might skip the pre-symphony chatter (annoying Russian lady that ends every sentence with “ya?” and all, but it’s generally very informative, plus Gergiev gets to say a few words starting from around minute 9), symphony begins at 12:25.
To give you a sense of what I described as a “secret dissident” interpretation of Shostakovich that I think is rather idiotic in its simplicity, check out this description of the symphony and its hidden anti-tyrannical “message” – yak!
If you skip all that chatter (symphony begins around minute 13) in the beginning (all that bullshit about how Shostakovich was really a secret anti-Soviet rebel, sneakily writing music about 1905 but in fact criticizing Soviet system without, however, really leaving any evidence of that), this is a great version of Shostakovich’s 11th symphony.