Shostakovich Symphony No. 4

Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 4pm
Roseville Lutheran Church
1215 Roselawn Avenue West, Roseville, MN

William Schrickel, conductor

Benjamin Britten – Russian Funeral (1936) for Brass & Percussion
Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphony No. 4 in C minor, op. 43

William Schrickel

William Schrickel

Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and England’s Benjamin Britten enjoyed a close musical and personal friendship. Britten’s dark, Mahler-esque Russian Funeral, composed in 1936, incorporates a proletarian funeral song from the Russian Revolution. Russian Funeral serves as a prelude to a rare performance by William Schrickel and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra of Shostakovich’s visionary Fourth Symphony. Shostakovich began composing the symphony in the fall of 1935 when he was the 29-year-old “golden boy” of Russian music, but on January 28, 1936, Stalin wrote and published in Pravda a blistering attack upon Shostakovich’s opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Overnight the composer became an enemy of the state. Shostakovich withdrew the symphony just a few days before its scheduled premiere in Leningrad, and it remained unperformed for twenty-five years. This brilliant and massive work, inspired by Shostakovich’s fascination with the symphonies of Mahler, conceived for huge instrumental forces and kaleidoscopic in form, is at turns bombastic, frightening, grandiose, mysterious, and heart-breaking. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to hear Shostakovich’s Fourth played in the Twin Cities for the first time since 1977!

Read the essay “Secrets: On Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4” by conductor Mark Wigglesworth.