Concerto No.2 for cello and orchestra in G minor, Op.126, Dmitri Shostakovich
Julian Steckel cello
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Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67, Ludwig van Beethoven

1.15 h (w/intermission)
Program notes Jose Antonio Canton

photo ©Bartek Barczyk

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Cello Concerto No. 2, Op.126  between the end of April and beginning of May 1966, during a stay at the resort of Oreanda in Yalta (Crimea). The piece was dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich, who gave the premiere on the 25th of September that same year, at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory under the baton of Yevgeny Svetlanov, in a concert to celebrate the composer’s sixtieth birthday.
Little can be said after more two hundred years of what is considered the Fifth Symphony par excellence. No other orchestral work has enjoyed such huge and long-lasting popularity as this universal creation by Beethoven. It is known all over the world, even if only because of the initial tension, which according to the author represents the sounds of “fate knocking at the door”. Four notes that determine the immediate identification of the complex human and artistic personality of this singular genius. There is no doubt that this symphony is the result of an inner passion, caused by a nearly constant existential crisis in the life of the musician. It is common knowledge that his anguishes, desperations and joys were concealed for many years, awaiting the moment of eclosion. Robert Schumann, who had a sharp, unerring critical judgment, expressed his admiration in the following terms: “No matter how frequently heard, the Fifth invariably wields its power over people of every age, an impressive fascination; like those phenomena of nature that fill us with fear and admiration, no matter how frequently we may experience them”.

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