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Karen Gomyo plays Shostakovich

Rudolfinum: Dvořák HallAlšovo nábřeží 12, Prague, Central Bohemian Region, Praha 1, Czech Republic
Dates/times in Prague time zone
Wednesday 07 October 202019:30
Thursday 08 October 202019:30
Friday 09 October 202019:30
Performers
Czech Philharmonic
Semyon BychkovConductor
Karen GomyoViolin

Shortly after the Second World War, Shostakovich was enjoying a relatively calm period and was able to devote himself to composing undisturbed. It was in this atmosphere that he began writing his First Violin Concerto, but after it was finished, the political situation in the Soviet Union worsened dramatically. Shostakovich was increasingly interested in Baroque musical forms, so he divided his violin concerto into four movements instead of the usual three. The slow-fast-slow-fast tempo arrangement was also Baroque, as was the form of the passacaglia used in the third movement. It is in this concerto that the cryptogram of Shostakovich’s name first appears in the form of the notes d, es (e flat), c, h (b natural). David Oistrakh, the work’s dedicatee, gave the première with the Leningrad Philharmonic and Yevgeny Mravinsky on 29 October 1955.

The première of Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony took place at the Rudolfinum on 2 February 1890 with the composer conducting. Although the work is sometimes called the “English Symphony”, Dvořák composed the entire piece in Vysoká u Příbrami and its melodies are purely Slavic. The nickname “English” arose from a combination of three factors: firstly, there was Dvořák’s quarrel with his publisher Simrock, who refused to pay an adequate fee for his compositions, so Dvořák sent the Eighth Symphony to the London publisher Novello. Secondly, the symphony was performed in Cambridge when the university there conferred an honorary doctorate on Dvořák. And thirdly, after the London première the press said that Dvořák was Beethoven’s sole valid successor: “Dvorak alone – though he, too, like Brahms, has sought to keep to the Beethoven school – has been able to bring a distinctly new element into the symphony.”

© Petra Hajska
© Petra Hajska
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