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John Axelrod conducts Barber, Shostakovich, Stravinsky

Thursday, 28 June 2018
Munich, Herkulessaal der Residenz

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / 4th Subscription C
Start: 8.00 pm | Introduction: 6.45 pm

Samuel Barber
Adagio for Strings

op.11

 

Igor Strawinsky
Chant funèbre

op. 5

 

Dmitrij Shostakovich
Symphony No. 13

for bass solo, men’s choir and orchestra “Babi Yar”
Mikhail Petrenko bass

Chorus master: Michael Gläser

Bavarian Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra
John Axelrod

Conductor


Programme note

The main item is Dmitri Shostakovich’s seldom performed Symphony no. 13, subtitled “Babi Yar”. Shostakovich originally drew his inspiration from Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s like-named poem, a memorial to the tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews massacred by the German Wehrmacht in the ravine near Kiev known as Babi Yar (1941). He also pilloried the Russian anti-Semitism that led to the denial of this unparalleled pogrom. By adding four more Yevtushenko poems he expanded “Babi Yar” into a monumental vocal symphony on the sufferings and “survival humour” of the Soviet people. The Thirteenth Symphony is a harrowing Requiem with Shostakovich’s distinctive penchant for satire and the grotesque – and a heroic challenge for the Russian bass Mikhail Petrenko and the Bavarian Radio men’s choir.

John Axelrod starts his moving concert with an instrumental “dirge” – a recently rediscovered early work by Igor Stravinsky that was considered lost for more than a century. This late-romantic Chant funèbre, composed in memory of his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov in 1908, contains echoes not only of his revered mentor but especially of Richard Wagner.

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