New Bristol Sinfonia - Archive
New Bristol Sinfonia present an evening of Russian music.
Dmitri Shostakovich lived throughout the totalitarian regime of Joseph Stalin, and said of him "Music illuminates a person through and through, and it is also his last hope and final refuge. And even half-mad Stalin, a beast and a butcher, instictively sensed that about music. Thatís why he feared and hated it." Stalin hated Shostakovich, and the composer felt the brutal power of his attacks keenly. In March 1953, Shostakovich awoke to the news of Stalinís death and that summer he wrote his tenth symphony at lightening speed - the dam had burst. All his pent-up years of creative energy broke free and this resulted in a symphony which was prounounced an "optimistic tragedy."
The first movement starts with echoes of Liszts Faust Symphony. This rises up into a massive climax, which then retreats to give the movement an epic arch structure. The scherzo is concentrated fury. Like much of Shostakovichís angriest music it is a relentless scream of woodwinds, brass and percussion and itís a very personal reflection of his feelings over Stalinís death. The third movement, although less intense than the first, covers similar ground. A solo horn motif is heard creating a dialogue between introspective and assertive themes. The finale starts cautiously at first, then answers the despairing tone of the earlier movements with unexpected cheerfulness. This is what makes the piece an "optimistic tragedy", but the real personal triumph of the piece is that this is the first of his symphonies that Stalin would never hear.
Tchaikovskyís Violin Concerto is prehaps one of the best loved works of its genre. However, it had a difficult birth. Although it was completed in less than three weeks, it went through several re-writes and it took three years before it was first performed. It was met with mixed reviews by the public, and dreadful reviews from the critics - "The violin is no longer played, it is yanked about, it is torn asunder, it is beaten black and blue....." one wrote. However, after years of performances it grew in the publicís affections and is now considered the violinistic equivalent of Rachmaninovís third Piano Concerto.
The first movement is full of grace and charm, although it also contains chasms and emotional turbulance with the orchestraís turbulence vying for supremacy with the solo violin. The cadenza is full of the main themes, skillfully interlaced with arpeggios and scales and saturated with technical virtuousity. The mournful second movement is full of melancholy and speaks of bottomless despair. The strings lighten up briefly but the skies darken again, and the unhappiness returns once more. The finale erupts in an excited orchestral introduction and a Russian dance is played with wild abandon. The quieter second theme introduces some nostalgia before the lightness returns and the piece ends with a stunning climax.
Date: Saturday 20 June, 2009
Venue: Victoria Rooms, Clifton, Bristol. Click here for a map
- Tchaikovsky : Violin Concerto
- Shostakovich : Symphony No 10
We recommend booking in advance with our Box Office: 0117 983 5922. (Cheques are accepted and there is no booking fee.)
Pre-booked tickets will be posted to you or can be picked up at the door.
Most seats for this concert are numbered and can be reserved in advance. Click here to see a seating plan of the Victoria Rooms. The Box Office can advise on which seats are available and which have the best view.
The ticket prices are:
- £13 (£11 concessions) balcony
- £10 adults (£8 concessions) stalls
- £5 students
- £2 children/school parties
Jason will be presenting a pre-concert talk at 6.45pm. This is open to all and entry is free.
We will restrict this mailing list to one or two emails per concert. You can easily unsubscribe at any time
We are seeking new sponsorship, no matter how small, from individuals, companies or other organisations.
If you would be interested in sponsorship, please contact the orchestra or see here for further information