May 7th
The Enigmatic Shostakovich


This program is devoted to music by the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who often infused his music with personal and political significance. The Chamber Symphony is a musical obituary he composed for himself in 1960 when he was sick and reluctantly becoming a member of the Communist Party. It summarizes his musical life by including many references to his earlier compositions. Symphony no. 9 marks the end of World War II and the Soviets’ victory over the Nazis in 1945. His friend, the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, had long wanted Shostakovich to write a concerto for him, but was warned that if he asked, Shostakovich would refuse. His silence was rewarded in 1959, and Cello Concerto no. 1 became an immediate success.

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