Few composers are shrouded in as much mystery as Dmitri Shostakovich. Born in 1906, he was just 11 when the Russian Revolution put in place a communist regime that lasted for the rest of his life – and historians have never agreed on whether he was a willing supporter of the Soviet government or something closer to the man portrayed in Julian Barnes’ recent book The Noise of Time, a reluctant pragmatist who did what he had to do in order to survive in his treasured homeland. Tonight’s concert aims to bring us closer to one of the 20th century’s most important composers and one of its most elusive personalities. Dialogues with Shostakovich, Rodion Shchedrin’s orchestral portrait of his fellow Russian, offers its own insights into both man and myth, and receives its first ever UK performance tonight. But to really understand Shostakovich, we need to hear his own notes jump off the page – in his First Violin Concerto, kept secret by the composer until the death of Stalin, and in his 15th and final symphony, a gripping work first performed just three years before his death in 1975.
Juanjo Mena – Conductor
Renaud Capuçon – Violin