Los Angeles / Regional Music Preview: TORADZE PLAYS SHOSTAKOVICH (Segerstrom Concert Hall)

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by Tony Frankel on January 30, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional


Through February 8, 2014, a dizzying array of events celebrating Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich is being presented by Pacific Symphony and Chapman University. Starting tonight, Russian powerhouse pianist Alexander Toradze, recognized as a masterful virtuoso with deep lyricism and intense emotion, joins Pacific Symphony to introduce a journey into the music of Shostakovich and Toradze Plays Shostakovichcultural policy under Stalin. Along for the adventures are Music Director Carl St.Clair, artistic advisor Joseph Horowitz, and musicologist Solomon Volkov, who wrote Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich.

The musical voyage begins front and center this week with an all-Shostakovich program Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2014 in the Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Upon first entering the concert hall lobby, patrons will find themselves taken back to the time of Stalin’s Soviet Union—the oppressive environment Shostakovich endured. Additionally, a student quartet comprised of Chapman music students performs Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 (a pre-concert presentation led by Horowitz and Volkov takes place an hour before the show).

Five seasons ago, the Pacific Symphony introduced “Music Unwound” to allow deeper insight, better understanding and a richer enjoyment of its programs; this includes unique formatting, multi-media and other enhancements. As such, the first A young Shostakovichhalf of the concert will be a dramatic presentation by Horowitz that includes St.Clair, actor David Prather portraying Shostakovich, music, and historical film clips providing insight into Shostakovich the man.

For the second half of the evening, the orchestra delves into Symphony No. 10, perhaps the composer’s best work, at once melancholy and intense. It’s a piece that Horowitz calls “monumental…of a different, darker cast, a work many consider his supreme—his most humbling, most necessary—symphonic achievement.” The program also includes excerpts from Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk, excerpts from Symphony No. 5, and the Piano Concerto No. 2 performed by Toradze.

ShostakovichA list of events can be found below, but a special program occurs on Feb. 2, when a program devoted to Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony occurs. And this is a symphony which deserves its own concert. Horowitz stated, “A work such as the 10th Symphony is a communal rite. In the wake of Stalin’s death, it charts a trajectory evolving from pain and terror to giddy release. Its first performances were an act of purgation. Counteracting the ‘music lovers’ Hitler and Stalin, it redeems music as a moral factor in the tortuous annals of 20th-century culture.

“Whatever one makes of the possible extra-musical content of Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony—whatever the pertinence of Stalin’s terror—it is a symphony that begins with an avalanche of grief,” he continues. “The avalanche takes the form of a massive, 20-minute first movement that slowly and inexorably heaves to an anguished climax, recedes and then attains an even higher climax, inhumanly sustained.”


Toradze Plays Shostakovich
plays January 30 – February 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm
Pacific Symphony
Carl St ClairCarl St.Clair, conductor
Alexander Toradze, piano
Solomon Volkov, musicologist
Joseph Horowitz, artistic advisor
Excerpts from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Excerpts from Symphony No. 5
Piano Concerto No. 2
Symphony No. 10
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
600 Town Center Dr in Costa Mesa
for tickets, call (714) 755-5799
or visit www.PacificSymphony.org

Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, 1:00 pm
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
Preceding the Sunday Connections concert (see below), Pacific Symphony’s Book Club focuses on Volkov’s “Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich,” the seminal study of Stalin’s cultural dictatorship and its harrowing impact on Russia’s most famous 20th-century composer. The manuscript was smuggled out of the Soviet Union and has to this day never been published in Russia. The book club meets for a discussion led by Volkov and Horowitz. To take part in the Book Club, contact facilitator Susan Key, Ph.D, at susan.key01@gmail.

Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, 3:00 pm
Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
The Symphony’s Sunday Connections concert spotlight shines solely on Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, as St.Clair and the orchestra showcase and dissect the composer’s greatest work. Full of tragedy, terror and, ultimately, triumph, Shostakovich’s electrifying symphony is also full of memorable musical ideas. For tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, 4:15-5:30 pm
Partridge Dance Center at Chapman University
A special Master Class for Chapman dance students. Artistic director of the Los Angeles Ballet, Colleen Neary, and dancers from the Los Angeles Ballet, present a lecture/demonstration on the Balanchine Technique. Neary also speaks about her years working as a dancer with Balanchine.

Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, 7:30-9:30 pm
Crean Hall, Oliphant Hall, at Chapman University
A special Master Class focusing on specific Shostakovich pieces. Available to Chapman Orchestra students only. The instructors—Pacific Symphony’s principal violist and Chapman University professor Robert Becker, Volkov, and pianist Toradze—guide and mentor students in order for them to take their musical talent to a higher level. The master class includes discussion of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1; Viola Sonata; and “Scherzo” from Symphony No. 10.

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, at 7 pm
Memorial Hall at Chapman University
“Shostakovich Concert,” an evening hosted by Chapman University’s Chancellor Daniele Struppa. This multi-media presentation with dialogue between Chancellor Struppa and Volkov is followed by a performance of Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata by pianist Alexander Toradze and Symphony violist Robert Becker. Following the performance, Struppa engages in a discussion with Becker and Toradze. A reception takes place at the conclusion.

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 7-9 pm
Salmon Recital Hall, Bertea Hall, Room 109, at Chapman University
Chapman’s Hall-Musco Conservatory presents “Soviet Film Music by Shostakovich” and his contemporaries. Open to the public, attendees watch and discuss excerpts from Alexander Nevsky (scores by Prokofiev); Hamlet and King Lear (scores by Shostakovich); and other films. Presenters include Amy Graziano (Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music, Chapman University) and Roger Hickman (Rick Cole Conservatory of Music, CSULB.

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, 11:30 am-12:30 pm
Salmon Recital Hall, Bertea Hall, at Chapman University
“Shostakovich: the Arranger and the Arranged” is the title of “Music Around Noon,” a lecture by Chapman composer Vera Ivanova, who discusses compositions from the early period of the composer’s life, when some of his writing was influenced by stylistic and orchestral features of popular music of the time. This presentation features popular excerpts from Shostakovich’s ballet The Golden Age in various arrangements by the composer himself and others.

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, at 7:30 pm
Salmon Recital Hall, Bertea Hall, at Chapman University
President’s Piano Series recital: A night filled with the harmonious melodies of Prokofiev and Shostakovich performed by two prestigious pianists. The masterful virtuoso Toradze, known for his deep, poetic lyricism and intense emotional involvement, joins forces with Vakho Kodanashvili, who has received numerous awards and has been a soloist at major music festivals and symphony orchestras around the world. The program includes: Prokofiev: Sonata No. 6, Sonata No. 7, Visions Fugitives; Shostakovich: Concertino.

Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, Noon-2:00 pm
Salmon Recital Hall, Bertea Hall, at Chapman University
A master class for conservatory voice students focuses on Soviet Russian literature and features Vladimir Chernov, baritone, instructing students in order to improve their musical ability and take their performance to a higher level. This event takes place

Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, 3-4:30 pm
Argyros Forum 209C at Chapman University
Russian influence on American acting, theatre and film is the topic of a lecture led by John B. Benitz, Thomas Bradac and Michael E. Nehring, from Chapman University’s Department of Theatre, this event discusses Russia’s influence (Stanislavsky and others) on American acting, theatre and film.

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, 8:30 am-12:30 pm
Argyros Forum 207 at Chapman University
The ideology of Stalinism is the subject of a symposium called “Ideology and Culture in Russia (1930-1953).” The symposium explores how Stalin’s ideology shaped every sphere of life and mentality in Russia between 1930 and 1953. These spheres included: music, art, film, sports, law, religion, education and childhood. Experts from the United States—Andrew Jenks, J. Arch Getty, Katerina Clark, Lilya Kaganovskaya and Randi K. Barnes-Cox—explore the power of ideology to shape both public culture and private experience.

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