Loving Russian Music

Since a friend of mine moved to Minneapolis last Fall, I've perused the Minnesota Orchestra's site from time to time.

I noticed that Andrew Litton will be conducting Shostakovich's 11th Symphony March 26-28. I would love to hear that performance, being a lover of Russian music.

Tchaikovsky has always been a favorite composer of mine. His unabashed emotion vividly appeals to my cornier side, and the tunefulness of his melodies has always gone straight to my heart. Maybe I was part Russian in a past life. (I also love Klezmer, so maybe I was Jewish Russian)

Shostakovich is another top pick of mine. Why is it such tragic music lifts me up? I feel connected with history and humanity when immersed in it. Shostakovich's music reminds me of the heavy weights burdening the 20th century, namely two apocalyptic world wars and decades of vicious oppression in the Soviet Union and other communist countries.

When I saw that Litton is conducting Shostakovich's Symphony #11, I perked up. I noticed that the Minnesota Orchestra website features video lectures on upcoming music, with a lecture by Litton on the 11th symphony. (What a great way to connect audiences with the music of upcoming programs!) Andrew Litton is incredibly well informed on the subject and also communicates with accessible clarity.

You can see and hear this lecture HERE.

I hope we get to do this music again someday. It seems the Columbus Symphony rarely programs such magnificent 20th century giants these day. How sad.

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2 comments for “Loving Russian Music

  1. April 3, 2009 at

    Paul- Thanks for your comment. Let’s hope we do more great Russian music, including the peripatetic Stravinsky.

  2. Paul H. Muller
    April 2, 2009 at

    I’m also a big fan of 20th century Russian music.

    I think Prokovfiev’s piano concertos are amazing – lyric and expressionistic all at the same time.

    And of course Shostakovich’s music is colored with his oppression by the Soviet regime.

    The Russians have certainly made their contributions to the 20th century. A good counterpoint to the neo-romantic and neo-classic music after WWI.

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