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Shostakovich:100 years and more popular than ever

Published: Wed 8 Nov 2006 03:29 PM
Shostakovich - 100 years old and more popular than ever!
Dmitri Shostakovich was one of the 20th century's greatest composers. He was the voice of Russia during turbulent times. The great vividness of his music enriches the many thousands of new listeners who discover it. The NZSO invites you to discover this remarkable composer and his music on Friday 17 November at the Wellington Town Hall, conducted by American Edwin Outwater in celebration of the hundredth anniversary of his birth.
Shostakovich was the last of the great composers who could be called both traditionalist and modern, and the first of the Russian composers who emerged because of, rather than despite, the Soviet regime. Unlike his compatriots Prokofiev and Stravinsky, both educated in Tsarist Russia, Shostakovich worked entirely under the influence of the communist government, and he struggled throughout his career with his genuine wish to create art for the state and with the state's inability to accept any art it did not understand.
There are three works on the programme for this concert: The Age of Gold Suite, written firstly as a ballet, the powerful Eighth Symphony; and Piano Concerto No 2 performed by Tamás Vesmás. Shostakovich wrote his Second Piano Concerto in 1957 as a birthday gift for his 19 year-old son Maxim, a pianist. The work is full of a light-hearted energy that may owe as much to the composer's relief at the demise of Stalin as to his cheerful wishes for his son. The eager, brilliant tone and brisk tempos, coupled with repeated notes similar to a bugle's call in the first and third movements, are most likely the reason for Disney choosing to use excerpts in the movie Fantasia 2000.
PROGRAMME Friday 17 November Wellington Town Hall 7pm The Age of Gold Suite Piano Concerto No 2 Symphony No 8
FEATURED ARTISTS Edwin Outwater Conductor Tamás Vesmás Piano
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