LNSO, MOZART AND SHOSTAKOVICH

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Mozart and Shostakovich – together in the same concert programme. One of them – the embodiment of 18th century classical period in music; an equilibrist of light and darkness; Apollo and faun conflated into a single, ordinary human body; his everlasting spirit blessed by the divine touch. As to the other one, his art stands for the tragedy of 20th century Russia and the entire world; he was a superb composer, and a hapless mouse in the claws of the totalitarian cat.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Piano Concerto No. 24 simultaneously with his opera The Marriage of Figaro, and the two works could not be more strikingly different: the opera’s lively major key contrasts with the concerto’s agitated minor key. However, the concerto is, undeniably, ingenious, and C minor is the fundament on which the brilliant citizen of Salzburg built his piece, potent in its unsurpassable content and artistry – he explored the same key with profound feeling in his Marriage Mass.

Dmitry Masleev, the winner of the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, will perform the solo of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24. Those who kept up with the competition will remember that Dmitry’s first place was not easily won. Jury members expressed completely opposite views on the top four contestants – even after the competition results. Yet the performance of the young Siberian pianist was, undeniably, profound and striking, with impeccable technique, spiritual equanimity and solid conception. This is Dmitry Masleev’s first visit to Latvia.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12 is a peripheral work in the history of music: it is seldom performed even in Russia, and even less so in other countries, which is why we have the rare opportunity to establish our own perspective on the symphony dedicated to Lenin, composed during the time when the composer was literally forced to join the Communist Party, after which some of his colleagues partly turned away from him.

The four movements of the symphony depict the 1917 events: the first movement illustrates Petrograd experiencing two revolutions within a single year; the second movement Razliv is devoted to Lenin who hid from the Provisional Government near the Lake Lakhta; the third movement is a realistic illustration of the powerful cannons of cruiser Aurora; finally, the fourth movement represents “the dawn of humanity”, seemingly not without sarcasm and irony, and the final part bears satirical resemblance with the ostentatious finale of Shostakovich’s own Symphony No. 5.

Considering the historical context of the events depicted in the symphony, and the fact that it was written in early 1960s, listening to the piece with a modern ear is an intellectual adventure. We might consider why this music received such harsh critique from the West; we might try to explain why the symphony is so rarely performed nowadays; we might evaluate it in the context of other works by Shostakovich; finally, we can reconsider what Mstislav Rostropovich said, that is: Shostakovich’s conscience simply did not allow him to write any piece openly dedicated to Soviet history and reality that would remain secured in the history of music.

Keeping in mind that one of LNSO’s specialties is performing Russian music, especially Shostakovich’s works, we are certain to go on an exciting adventure, guided by Andris Poga and his mastery of thoughtful serenity and symphonic caliber.

A few historical facts about the piece: the LNSO has performed Shostakovich’s Symphony No 12 conducted by Leonīds Vīgners on October 29, 1961, less than a month after its premiere on October 1 in Kuibyshev (conducted by Abram Stasevich) and Leningrad (conducted by Yevgeny Mravinsky), simultaneously. In Moscow, Symphony No. 12 was first conducted by Konstantin Ivanov on October 15, and it can be considered an anacrusis to the 22nd Congress of the CPSU – some historians consider the event a more significant sign of the brief thaw than the legendary 20th Congress which denounced Stalin only partly.

31 Mar

19.00 / Friday / CONCERT HALL GREAT AMBER

Soloist/-s

Dmitry Masleev - piano

Conductor

Andris Poga

Program

  • Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART Piano Concerto no. 24, K 496
  • Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony no. 12 ("1917")

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