The Spirit of Russia: Scared and Profane


David Brophy will conduct the DIT Symphony Orchestra at the National Concert Hall on Tuesday 26 February.  The programme for the concert celebrates the music of two giants of the 20th century – Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Rachmaninoff”.  Here Brophy explains the background to the two composers who drew their inspiration from Russia but in very different ways:
“The music of Russia has long intrigued musicians and audiences. In this concert we celebrate the music of two giants of the twentieth century – Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Rachmaninoff. While both composers drew their inspiration from their country’s culture and traditions, tonight’s works illustrate the different manner in which these influences found expression.
Shostakovich spent his life in his homeland, suffering decades of repression, criticism and fear under the Stalin regime. His music can be viewed as a personal expression of his country’s fate through the middle decades of the twentieth century, an expression that many Russians dearly valued at a time when censorship silenced any overt criticism of their rulers. The Jazz Suite No.2 illustrates the public expression of the composer’s duty as seen by his country’s dictator, one in which music acts as a persuasive foil, set against the everyday reality of the Soviet peoples plight. This ‘light’ music formed a crucial part of Shostakovich’s output and can be viewed in many ways as a decoy, deflecting attention away from the altogether more serious commentary found in his symphonies.  Symphony No. 10 op.93, first performed at the end of 1953, only a matter of 8 months after Stalin’s death, represents the culmination of the composer’s struggle with the man who cast a shadow over him since the 1934 premier of his opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Laden with musical symbolism and metaphor, this symphony above all others can be viewed as the composer’s towering achievement in the form which found its death in the twentieth century.
The influence of Russia on Rachmaninoff is less obvious in his broad output, but finds a clear voice in his op. 37 Vespers or All-Night Vigil. Here, the traditional sounds of the Russian Orthodox Church are enveloped in a richly conceived unaccompanied choral sound in which the composer utilises old chant in a way which places the music firmly in the sonorities of his homeland. Composed in 1915, a mere three years before he left for New York, the work is one of the few musical examples of the composer’s deeply-felt connection to his country and its traditions.”
This is an evening not to be missed. 

Tuesday 26th February, National Concert Hall, 8pm


Shostakovich Symphony no. 10
Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No. 2
Rachmaninov: Vespers

DIT Symphony Orchestra, DIT Chamber Choir and Choral Society
Conductor: David Brophy

Tickets: €25 (€20 concession)
National Concert Hall Box Office
Telephone 01 417 0000

Online: No booking fees


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