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The Hallé - Shostakovich Symphony No.4 - Beyond the Score®

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Bridgewater HallManchester, North-West, M2 3WS, United Kingdom
On Saturday 28 October 2017 at 19:00
Performers
The Hallé
Sir Mark ElderConductor
Gerard McBurneyNarrator

First half - Beyond the Score ® dramatisation
Second half - Full orchestral performance

 

THE PLACE RUSSIA, THE YEAR 1936…

The Soviet Union’s most famous composer, Dmitri Shostakovich had triumphed internationally with a wildly successful opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, running simultaneously in different theatres in Moscow and Leningrad, and creating scandals and excitement in Europe and America. The composer was determined to follow with a massive symphony, scored for enormous orchestra and designed to show the full power and scale of modern music.

And then he fell from grace. At the beginning of the year, two unsigned articles appear in the national newspaper Pravda, condemning his work as ‘coarse, primitive and vulgar’, ‘musical chaos’, an example of the evil and anti-Soviet influence of Western ‘formalism’ and bourgeois values. The opera was taken off, the new symphony abruptly cancelled, and the composer plunged into public peril.

This was at the very moment when Stalin initiated the bloodthirsty Terror, in which hundreds of thousands died and millions were arrested and imprisoned.

25 years later, when the symphony was finally allowed to be performed, the composer told a friend: ‘In many ways, it seems to me the Fourth is better than the symphonies that came after…’

Beyond the Score® dramatises this dark and shocking story, setting the violence and pathos of the music alongside political and personal events in a multimedia performance using diaries, letters, prose and poetry, documentary films and posters of the time. We hear a complete performance of the symphony after the interval.

Beyond the Score® is a production of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Sir Mark Elder © Benjamin Ealovega
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