Thursday, May 14, 2020

Exciting Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich

From a previous Tales post published on May 7, 2017 [when the fetching Mrs. B and I attended the Houston Symphony Orchestra concert]:  "The Exciting Fifth Symphony of Shostakovich":

Dmitri Shostakovich  [1906 - 1975]

The Russian composer, Shostakovich, composed this 5th symphony, maybe his most popular, in 1937.  It was very well received at its debut, and still is beloved by concert goers today.  This dramatic, at times tense, at times peaceful, at times haunting, symphony in D minor was scored with the usual four movements: 1. Moderato - Allegro non troppo;  2. Allegretto;  3. Largo; and the exciting 4th movement, Allegro non troppo.  

Later from this previous post
:   "In the second half of the program was Shostakovich's gripping 5th symphony. This stirring masterpiece was masterfully led by our conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada. Bravo!  

This piece was made so much more meaningful and moving because of the pre-concert "prelude" talk given by the Houston Symphony's musical ambassador, Carlos Andres Botero. I knew how Dmitri Shostakovich was always under pressure because of the political situation [Communist] in the Soviet Union during his life and how he would fall in and out of favor [and in danger] with the Soviet authorities and how it affected his music, but I didn't realize how much of his life and the struggles of the people of Russia was incorporated in this 5th symphony.  I knew in the first movement how the mood would keep switching back from an intense struggle to a pleasant peacefulness, but never realized those peaceful softer phrases were about a woman he loved.  In the last movement ["fireworks" -as Carlos Andres Botero likes to say] Shostakovich would relate to the people of Russia how their struggle would continue and was continuing with the playing in the background by strings of the note A quickly over and over [I forget the exact number Maestro Botero said, but it was an incredible amount of times]. He said with a smile if you look at the musicians score [at the time of the repeated A's] it looks nothing like music, but it looks like something they have never seen before.  

HSO Musical Ambassador - Carlos Andres Botero
Also, Carlos Andres Botero in his prelude talk noted how the opening of the symphony has sketches from Beethoven's 5th symphony ["fate knocking at the door"], and that in the second and third movements, came sketches from Berlioz' Carmen and Mahler.  This symphony commissioned by the Soviet government and premiered in 1937 in Leningrad to a rousing reception, was cleverly created by Shostakovich, to please both the Soviet authorities, and the people who were being oppressed at the same time.

Because of the insightful prelude talk by Maestro Botero, I was moved by Shostakovich' 5th symphony like never before.  Maestro Andres Orozco-Estrada interpretation was gripping.  He extended the climax by decreasing the speed, as if to prolong the exhilarating ending as long as possible."  

It was quite an evening in Jones Hall Houston, TX.

Now please turn up the volume play in full screen and enjoy the exciting 5th Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich.

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony #5 in D-minor:

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