Mahler – Rückert-Lieder (20’)
Shostakovich – Symphony No. 4 (63’)
We will, in all likelihood, never unwrap the enigma of Dmitri Shostakovich. This mysterious son of Mother Russia has been pinned as everything from a Stalinist shill to a dissident anti-Soviet rebel – but while recent books such as Julian Barnes’s intimate The Noise of Time (fiction) and MT Anderson’s compelling Symphony for the City of the Dead (non-fiction) have come down in the latter camp, the composer kept his counsel right up until his death in 1975. His gripping Fourth Symphony only adds to the uncertainty: while Shostakovich was writing it, Stalin ordered Pravda to attack the composer in a stinging editorial, which led to Shostakovich shelving the work until long after the dictator’s death. Out of respect, fear or anger? We shall never know for sure. Shostakovich specialist Mark Wigglesworth is the BBC Philharmonic‘s guest conductor in a programme that also features charismatic British baritone Roderick Williams in some of Mahler’s most romantic songs.
Roderick Williams – baritone
Mark Wigglesworth – conductor