From Russia with love

On Saturday 11 November, we’ll be performing a sweeping all Russian programme featuring some of the country’s greatest composers, Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Shostakovich.

We kick off with Borodin’s exquisite ‘Polotvsian Dances’, written in 1869 by the composer, a chemist and teacher by profession and who amazingly composed in his free time, much to his musical friends’ dismay. This popular work features many well-known themes with its most famous adapted to form the song ‘Stranger in Paradise’. 

Fast forward 90 years to the Soviet regime and we offer a taste of the torment and spirit of the time. Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto no.1 written for the late, great Mstislav Rostropovich, who learned his friend’s work in four days, will be performed by our soloist Marina Martins. Rhythmic, haunting, thrilling and beautiful, the concerto gives us an indication of the complexity of the composer’s relationship with his beloved country. 

We close with Tchaikovsky’s mighty Fifth Symphony with its grandiose range and proportions, again hugely popular and jam-packed with famous tunes. Yet the work leaves us questioning the composer’s intentions.

Mark Gateshill, our conductor comments: “Is it about triumph? We are left unsure. In retrospect we can see that Tchaikovsky was on a journey, a journey where he felt life doesn’t win. He doubted and questioned himself endlessly. It is this energy that runs through the symphony like electricity, that brings it to life.”

Join us on November 11 at 7.30pm in the Victoria Rooms, Clifton Bristol. Tickets available on the door or in advance through Opus Music, price £15, concessions £12, students (with NUS card) £5 and under 18s £1.

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