NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester / Jukka-Pekka Saraste
  • Concerts

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester / Jukka-Pekka Saraste
© Marco Borggreve

Dmitri Shostakovich was a master of hide-and-seek. He smuggled encrypted messages into many of his works – probably including his Symphony No. 11. At first glance, the programme here seems clear: under the title »The Year 1905« it depicts the events of the first Russian Revolution in vivid music. The arc of suspense takes us from the oppressive atmosphere outside the Tsar's Palace through the cruel massacre on »Bloody Sunday« to a lament for those killed and a look into the future. The first performance in 1957 brought the composer acclaim and success: this was music very much to the taste of the apparatchiks in the Soviet Ministry of Culture. But is that the whole truth? Or did Shostakovich perhaps build in another false bottom here?
It certainly suggests itself that the composer uses his historical subject to comment on the present day. Under Khrushchev, it's true, the post-Stalin Sowiet Union experienced a period of political »thawing« - nonetheless, his response to the Hungarian uprising in 1956 was as harsh as that of his predecessors. It may well be that this brutality, too, can be heard in the symphony.
Before this orchestral heavyweight, Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts a work that shows a completely different facet of the 20th century: in his Concert for Two Pianos, played by Lucas and Arthur Jussen, Francis Poulenc combines influences from music-hall, jazz, Romantic and Balinese music to produce a colourful stylistic mixture.

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elbphilharmonie_c-iwan-baan-8
© Iwan Baan

The Grand Hall

Deep inside the building is the heart of the Elbphilharmonie: the large concert hall seats approx. 2100 guests.

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