Thursday 21 Feb 2013, 7.30pmRoyal Festival Hall, London
Venue Box Office: 020 3879 9555
Vladimir Ashkenazy conductor
Sol Gabetta cello
Britten Suite, Death in Venice (arr. Steuart Bedford)
Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2
Shostakovich Symphony No. 15
A fascinating programme that finds two creative giants, towards the end of their respective careers, composing with bracing inventiveness and insight. The unbearably poignant Death in Venice was Britten's final opera, composed as a tribute to his beloved partner, the tenor Peter Pears. This was during the early 1970s when Shostakovich was concurrently working on his last Symphony, a tour-de-force of coruscating ingenuity that includes a number of musical quotations, including a snippet from Rossini's William Tell. When asked about it, Shostakovich reasoned that 'I don't quite know myself why the quotations are there, but I could not not include them.'