CANCELLED due to Coronavirus - Shostakovich's Ninth
- Strauss Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche
- British Les illuminations
- Mahler What the wild flowers tell me
- Shostakovich Ninth symphony
Till Eulenspiegel, based on the adventures of a medieval knave, is among the most cheerful and cheerful music written for a full symphony orchestra - think of a Jan Steen pub scene but in music. Learned musicologists once asked Strauss about the deeper meaning of this musical farce. Did it contain any double meanings? The typical Strauss answer: 'Are you crazy, I just want to give the audience a thoroughly enjoyable evening with it'.
Shostakovich's ambiguous 'Victory Symphony'
Double meanings or messages are more commonly attributed to Dmitri Shostakovich. With his Ninth Symphony from 1945, he definitely misled the communist party bosses. The Soviet authorities were expecting a heroic victory symphony, but Shostakovich wrote a work that, as so often, evoked confusion: was it cheerful or, under the surface, tragic? The party members were left in confusion; what had they been listening to? A feeling that was aptly typified by the critic Daniel Zhitomirsky, who praised Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony: "I remember how strongly I felt that this was a breakthrough, something important that would have far-reaching consequences - although you might not think so at first glance. On the surface, there is a playfulness and carefreeness that sometimes sounds really festive, but then that material takes on tragic and grotesque forms.' In short, you can say anything you like about this symphony, but everyone is free to think his or her own way.