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Shostakovich Ninth Symphony

London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda

Photo of Gianandrea Noseda in black suit

The past and contemporary, romance and sarcasm, all meet in this concert, as Gianandrea Noseda conducts music by Russian composers who reached back in history to say something new.

For his first symphony, Prokofiev – in characteristic style – decided to do the opposite of what was expected of him. Instead of capturing the turbulence of Revolutionary Russia, he made Haydn and Mozart his muses, writing a work that fizzes with wit, light and play. We hear Prokofiev in a more romantic mood in his First Violin Concerto, and step back into Russian history for Mussorgsky’s Prelude to Khovanschina, which evokes a city awakening as dawn breaks over the Moscow River.

For Noseda, the Ninth is ‘Shostakovich at his most ‘classical’, but a modern statement nonetheless. ‘Stalin wanted a celebration of the victory of Russia, and Shostakovich came out with a sort of opera buffa  symphony,’ he says. ‘Short, witty, lots of sarcasm. I can really feel his wish to go against what was expected of him.’

The concert ends at 8.45pm. It includes a 20 minute interval.

Barbican Hall