Venue Details: Colston Hall
- Shostakovich : The Gadfly Suite
- Britten : Violin Concerto
- Prokofiev : Symphony No.7
Prokofiev completed his Seventh, and last, symphony in 1952. It is richly lyrical and immediately ingratiating, the style deemed appropriate by the government to inspire the Soviet masses. “It is the duty of the composer to serve his fellow men, to beautify human life and show the way to a radiant future,” he wrote in his 1946 Autobiography. This Symphony not only made those words manifest (the andante is one of the most effusively melodious and unabashedly sentimental pieces that Prokofiev ever created), but also showed that he was able to create music of surpassing quality under the tightest ideological strictures.
In anticipation of Britten's centenary in 2013, his brilliantly varied Violin Concerto will be performed by James Ehnes. The "effusively lyrical . . . hair-raisingly virtuosic" soloist is one of the most critically acclaimed violinists in the world today, offering a rare chance to hear this underappreciated masterpiece. Britten met Shostakovich at a London concert in 1960 and a life-long respect and admiration between the two composers was ignited. In celebration of the centenary of Britten's birth, the BSO and Ehnes are performing and recording the violin concertos of both composers as we begin an exploration of this relationship.
Between 1929 and 1970, Shostakovich completed nearly 40 soundtracks. He firmly believed that "cinema music is often regarded as a mere illustration, supplementary to the screen. In my opinion it should be treated as an integral part of an artistic whole" (1939). Shostakovich composed a stunning soundtrack for the The Gadfly (1955)and the suite performed here reflects the horoism of the screenplay, the popular pastiche of Shostakovich's musical genius as well as giving hints of symphonies still to come. In particular, the luscious Romance for violin and orchestra and Nocturne for solo cello offer moments of poetic brilliance.
To find out more about Prokofiev's Seventh, you can Meet the Music
Pre-Concert Talk: 6.25 - 6.55pm
Free to all ticket-holders. Find out more here.