The two main works in tonight’s high-impact programme come from opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Shostakovich’s dark and despairing First Violin Concerto had to be hidden away until after Stalin’s death in 1953 for fear of reprisals from the Soviet thought police, who wanted only positivist flag-wavers that glorified the Motherland. This is exactly what Prokofiev provided with his cantata adapted from his music to Eisenstein's film Alexander Nevsky, which, following a breathtaking battle on the frozen wastes, climaxes in Alexander riding triumphantly into Pskov. The proletariat lapped it up and Stalin gave it his seal of approval, but unsurprisingly Shostakovich was less than impressed!
Concert performance in Russian with English surtitles
Part of Southbank Centre's The Rest is Noise, inspired by Alex Ross' book "The Rest is Noise"
More concerts at Royal Festival Hall
May 22 2013, 19:30 - Royal Festival Hall
Sir Andrew Davis celebrates Wagner's bicentenary, conducting excerpts from Die Meistersinger and Die Walküre
May 30 2013, 19:30 - Royal Festival Hall
Esa-Pekka conducts The Rite of Spring in its centenary performance alongside Debussy's Prelude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Varèse's Amériques