Opening the evening is Brahms’s Tragic Overture, a moving piece with a turbulent and tormented character. One can easily imagine it as the soundtrack to a particularly dramatic Shakespearean tragedy. Immediately following, we let air into the room with a little bit of Spanish flair. Named after his beloved home region, Pablo de Sarasate’s Navarra is a stunning work for two virtuoso violins, featuring both our current and previous concertmasters, sisters Martha Gardner and Kathryn Gardner-Otwell. By turns lyrical and rousing, it captures all of the nostalgia and passion for which Sarasate is famous.
To close, we present Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, widely considered an unprecedented triumph. From faint echoes of Bizet’s Carmen in its opening movement, the piece explores the theme of rebirth both for the composer himself and for the striving of his country at the time. Renowned pianist Heinrich Neuhaus declared it “deep, meaningful, gripping music … striking for its novelty and originality, but at the same time somehow hauntingly familiar, so truly and sincerely does it recount human feelings.”
You won’t want to miss this masterpiece that moved audiences at its premiere to weep with joy and applaud for more than thirty minutes.
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