Klaus Mäkelä continues his exploration of Shostakovich's symphonies with the fourth, a hugely ambitious work scored for an enormous orchestra. In the first of several appearances in Oslo in September, Patricia Kopatchinskaya performs Robert Schumann's Violin Concerto.
Robert Schumann wrote his Violin Concerto in the autumn of 1853 for his close friend Joseph Joachim, who was the 19th century’s most influential violinist. Schumann was admitted into a mental hospital shortly afterwards and Joachim believed that the concerto bore the marks of his illness. After Schumann’s death in 1856, he suggested that it not be performed for 100 years, something which the composer’s widow, Clara, agreed with. The music, therefore, was a well-kept secret, but it didn’t stay that way for that long. It premiered in Berlin in 1937 and since then it has been performed in concert halls regularly.
Dmitri Shostakovich broke through as a composer with his first symphony in 1926, only 19 years old. His career subsequently continued to take off internationally as well as at home in the Soviet Union. In 1935 he began his most ambitious symphony project to date, his fourth symphony. Shostakovich had studied Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 thoroughly and put together a symphony that was longer than his three previous ones and was for a larger orchestra.
While he was working on it, none other than Joseph Stalin himself attended one of his operas. It didn’t go particularly well. A few days later a powerful attack against Shostakovich appeared in print in the Communist newspaper Pravda. This marked the beginning of a nightmare for him which, among other things, meant that his Symphony No. 4 could not be performed. It was not until 1961, many years after Stalin’s death, that the time was right for its premiere in Moscow and this met with great success.
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- Child: 150 NOK
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