Conceived whilst ill and in hospital, Shostakovich’s final symphony is among his most enigmatic works; an intimate and moving orchestral statement that poses many questions but reveals few answers. We hear medical equipment, electric shock treatment, vulgarity and satire, and a procession of musical quotes – Rossini’s William Tell, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Wagner’s Ring Cycle – which drift in and out of consciousness like voices in your head whist delirious. Distant Light begins very quietly on the solo violin which leads to a winding lyrical line with a shimmering accompaniment. Its soulful, melancholic passion remains key to Vasks’ desire to re-connect with nature, beliefs and ideals that he sees being lost. Mozart’s Serenade for wind octet is one of his most puzzling and mysterious works. Orchestrated for an ensemble that is traditionally employed for light entertainment, it is defiantly dark in its character.

Works and composers

Mozart Wind Serenade in C minor
Vasks Violin Concerto 'Distant Light'
Shostakovich Symphony No.15

Supported by

Stephen Elder & Vanessa Claydon