Saturday, April 4, 2015

Fear And Trembling

Just back from the Esplanade having listened to the SSO in splendid form doing ample justice to Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony. I'd prepared for the occasion by re-reading Alex Ross's chapters on the Russian Master in The Rest is Noise and being reminded of the extremity of the fear he lived with in the days of Stalin. Perhaps that's why all I could hear was cold hard bitter churning stress throughout the symphony, even in what the writer of the programme notes claimed was the exultant ending in glorious E-major. E-major it may have been; exultant it wasn't, except in the sense of a crazed sense of release at the death of the tyrant. I couldn't hear any relaxation in this music at all and my heart bled for the man who felt he had to write it.

There was also a pleasant half hour of Schumann as well, which made me a touch dozy. The Shostakovich woke me up though, I can tell you.

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