BBC Discovering ShostakovichTickets Free
Nicholas Collon conductor
Stephen Johnson presenter
Shostakovich Symphony No. 8
Dmitri Shostakovich is now numbered amongst the greatest composers of the twentieth century, his prolific output including fifteen symphonies that speak deeply about the relationship between the individual and society. The years of terror under Stalin saw the composer censured for the ‘formalism’ of his compositions and in fear for his life, and yet his music was capable of saying one thing to the authorities whilst implying something entirely different.
Following the triumph of his wartime Leningrad Symphony, his 1943 8th Symphony, with its unsparing soundworld was denounced as unpatriotic and blacklisted until 1956. But there’s no doubting the tragic stature of this vision of a world under the heel of war, its keening lines and remorseless intensity balanced by gritty humour and stoical endurance. Broadcaster Stephen Johnson offers fascinating insights into this conflicted masterpiece and its creator with live orchestral illustrations from the BBC Philharmonic before a complete performance of the symphony.
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Venue: Royal Concert Hall
Running time: 2 hours