Masterworks 4

"tragedy and triumph"

April 13, 2019

Vlad Vizireanu, guest conductor

Kamen               Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Suite

Shostakovich     Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Op. 102

Tchaikovsky      Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathétique, Op. 74


"tragedy and triumph"

The story of triumph and tragedy is inherent in the works of Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, whose lives were plagued by both social and inner turmoil. Tchaikovsky’s final symphony, Pathétique, mirrors the ebbs and flows of his personal struggles in Imperial Russia. As he died only days after premiering the work, the funerary last movement is a most haunting final word to his compositional voice.

While faced with different challenges, Shostakovich’s music more accurately reflects the zeitgeist of his time than his own self. His music and life were inextricably tangled in a Stalinist Soviet Union in which composers who defied the artistic tenets of the state were harshly punished. This concerto, like his earlier works, contrasts the outwardly cheerful appearance of society with the cruel and oppressive reality that Shostakovich and his contemporaries faced.

Michael Kamen’s soundtrack to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves stands alone in this program as a story of triumph. Masterfully orchestrated and evocative of a more heroic time, this suite adds a hopeful tone from the rich to the poor.