Friday 23 March 2018

Pogostkina plays Khachaturian

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

Time 7:30pm
National Concert Hall Dublin

Tickets: from €15

  • Clemens Schuldt
  • Alina Pogostkina
  • Copland
    Appalachian Spring Suite / 23’
  • Khachaturian
    Violin Concerto in D minor / 35’
  • Shostakovich
    Symphony No. 1 in F minor / 28’

A trio of masterpieces boasting exalting lyricism, bewitching beauty and adrenalized drama from the father of American classical music, Aaron Copland, and two giants of 20th-century Russian music: Aram Khachaturian and Dmitri Shostakovich with rising violin star Alina Pogostkina, who promises ‘a stunning display of virtuosity that could only be described as electrifying’ (San Diego Reader).

Aaron Copland’s ballet score Appalachian Spring was composed for (and dedicated to) the influential American choreographer and dancer Martha Graham in 1944 and won him that year’s Pulitzer Prize for music. It evokes an emotional world as vast and vital as the landscape that stretches through the 13 American States that gives the work its title. With a bright, unalloyed buoyancy, it depicts the communal celebrations that follow the building of a new home by a young, newly-wed pioneer couple in the Pennsylvania hills of the early 19th century. Central to the piece is the traditional Shaker melody Simple Gift (also the source for Sydney Carter’s later, widely popular hymn, Lord of the Dance) which Copland weaves into his music with a consummate ease and elegance in a piece that is by turns playful, proud, passionate and powerful.

Best known for the Adagio from his ballet Spartacus – memorably used as the theme to the BBC’s The Onedin Line – Aram Khachaturian endured (and survived) the turbulence of Stalin’s murderously schizophrenic regime, finding himself renounced and rehabilitated within the space of a year by his Soviet masters. The ebullient Violin Concerto in D minor is a blissfully romantic affair packed with luscious melodies. Later, the composer recalled its creation: “I wrote music as though on a wave of happiness; my whole being was in a state of joy, for I was awaiting the birth of my son. And this feeling, this love of life, was transmitted to the music.”

Shostakovich was just 19 and at the beginning of a brilliant career when he completed his First Symphony as his graduation exercise from the Petrograd Conservatory in 1925. Although paying obvious debt to the great national symphonic tradition he had inherited, it’s also a work of tremendous youthful vigour and freshness that steps boldly into a new future for Russian music.