Britten – Passacaglia from Peter Grimes
Bartok – Piano Concerto No. 3 (Benjamin Hochman, piano)
Shostakovich – Symphony No. 10
Britten and Shostakovich deeply admired each other’s work and related to each other around the notion of persecution – personal, political, and artistic. Peter Grimes, tackles head-on the problem of the mob’s persecution of the outsider. The ominous yet brilliant “Passacaglia” Is a highlight of the opera, in which the narrow and blinkered townspeople close in on their prey.
Shoslakovich’s Tenth Symphony, composed shortly after the death of Stalin, is a moving and enigmatic work, in which persecution is just one of a complex of elements. The symphony’s short, horrific second movement may depict the dictator himself. But much else haunts this symphony, not least the composer, as indicated by the initials of his name spelled out in the musical notation. This overpowering work has justly earned its place among the most popular of Shostakovich’s symphonies.
We are extraordinarily fortunate in our piano soloist for Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3 performance. Pianist and conductor Benjamin Hochman has been praised by the New York Times “Classical music doesn’t get any better than this.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer raved “Hochman’s demeanor is poised, and quietly confident. His playing is beautiful to hear. From the first moment, his crisp, articulated touch was noticeable, clear but not forceful, even with pedal, and he shaped the phrases in the long cadenza with grace.”
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