Festive Overture, Op. 96 (1954)
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Shostakovich spent much of his life walking a fine line between cultural approval by the Soviet authorities (= “life”) and disapproval (= “death” – literally!). So even though the regime softened its stance after Stalin’s death in 1953, Shostakovich remained nervous and for the next few years his style became more classical and conservative. As artistic consultant to the Bolshoi theatre, he was asked to prepare a short piece celebrating the 37th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution just a few days before the concert. The resulting Festive Overture was composed in only two days and is alternately grand and effervescent, in an accessible style sure to please even the most demanding Politburo member!
Performed: Aug, Sep 2016