Sunday, April 09, 2006

Were Shostakovich alive, he'd be exhausted

By Melinda Bargreen

From the Seattle Times - Friday, April 7, 2006

It would be hard to find a more distinguished group of Shostakovich experts than the trio that will convene in the grand lobby of Benaroya Hall on Saturday.
Mstislav Rostropovich, who knew the late composer Dmitry Shostakovich well and was the dedicatee of several Shostakovich works, will be on hand to discuss his personal views of the composer, along with Shostakovich biographer Elizabeth Wilson and highly regarded music historian Richard Taruskin. Together, they should come up with fascinating commentary on the late, great symphonist, who would have turned 100 this year. His birth anniversary is being celebrated in the ongoing "Shostakovich Uncovered" Festival at Benaroya Hall.
The experts will be joined by Elena Dubinets and Christian Knapp, both Russian speakers, who can provide more context and also some translations. (Admission to the 1:30 p.m. event is $10 at the door.)
Tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., Rostropovich will return to the Seattle Symphony podium at Benaroya for performances of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 1 and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5, along with Shostakovich's "Festive Overture." Rostropovich also was a friend of Prokofiev's, and his insights into both composers' works should give these concerts a noteworthy authenticity (tickets at 206-215-4747 or
The Seattle Chamber Players, who are partners in the Shostakovich festival, will present a 7 p.m. performance Sunday in the Nordstrom Recital Hall called "Through a Glass Darkly: Shostakovich's 15th Symphony, A Master's Legacy." The program, which features the pianist Oleg Malov, includes the world premiere of Alissa Firsova's "Celebration," the U.S. premiere of Pavel Karmanov's "Get In!!," Sofia Gubaidulina's Quartet for Four Flutes, and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 15 (in the arrangement by Derevianko). Tickets are available at Ticketmaster outlets, linked via the Web site, An hour before the concert (6 p.m.), Malov will play a preconcert recital of piano works by Shostakovich (the "Aphorisms" and Piano Sonata No. 2).
The Seattle Symphony also is presenting a U.S. premiere screening of a Russian-language film, "Evacuation," at the downtown Seattle Public Library (1000 Fourth Ave., Microsoft Auditorium, Level One), at 2 p.m. Sunday. Karmanov (whose work is featured at the Seattle Chamber Players concert) composed the score; the movie is about the evacuation from Leningrad during World War II. There's a post-film discussion that features SCP guest pianist Malov, who survived the Leningrad blockade as a child. The film and discussion are free to the public.
Finally, the concluding program in the "Shostakovich Uncovered" Festival opens Thursday, with Gerard Schwarz conducting the first of two concerts with the young violinist Julian Rachlin (playing the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1). The program also includes the Shostakovich Symphony No. 8, along with a selection from Sibelius' "Legends." The concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m. in Benaroya Hall, repeats at 8 p.m. April 15 (206-215-4747,