SHOSTAKOVICH: Festive Overture, op. 96
MOZART: Piano Concerto in E-flat major ("Jeunehomme"), K. 271
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 15 in A major, op. 141
Performed by Mihály Berecz piano
Conductor: Mikhail Pletnev
An overture written to order at lightning speed and a wise farewell to the genre of the symphony, demonstratively rich in music history and self-reflections. These two iconic works by Shostakovich dominate this concert programme, the conductor of which is Mikhail Pletnev who gained world fame as a pianist in the late 1970s but who has been wielding the baton for several decades now. Festive Overture was written (at high speed) by Shostakovich in 1954 on the commission of the Bolshoi in Moscow as a way of celebrating the 37th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. Such is its quality that it has easily surpassed the era of 7 November commemorations. “It's a work that simply took hold of me, one of the few to appear clearly in my mind from the beginning, from the first note to the last. I had to do nothing other than notate it.” This is what the composer had to say about his final, fifteenth symphony, which references, among others, the William Tell overture, Wagner and indeed the artist himself in the work premiering in 1972. Between the two Shostakovich works is the Piano Concerto in E-flat major by a 21-year-old Mozart, sobriquet ‘Jeunhomme’ or rather ‘Jenamy’, with solo by the similarly youthful Mihály Berecz.