Orchestra “Davai” 8th concert will be held on 27 July 2014. We will play Tchaikovsky’s Slavonic March, Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite “Ala and Lolly” and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905″.
Orchestra “Davai” 8th concert
July 27, 2014
at Sumida Triphony Hall, Kinshicho, Tokyo, Japan
Tchaikovsky: Slavonic March（Славянский марш）
Prokofiev: Scythian Suite “Ala and Lolly”（Скифская сюита “Ала и Лоллий”）
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905″（Симфония № 11 «1905-й год» ）
Conductor: Shinji Moriguchi
Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905″ is based on “Bloody Sunday”, beginning of the Russian Revolution in St. Petersburg in 1905. As you know, it is the historical event that troops opened fire against defenseless people marching for petition towards Palace (now the Hermitage Museum), wherein a thousand people or more were massacred. Shostakovich depicted this event using the melodies of revolution song. It consists of four movements.
1st mov. Adagio “The Palace Square”
Palace square of winter is drawn. It is very beautiful and calm, but tension-filled music as if forseeing the incidents after this.
2nd mov. Allegro “The 9th of January”
Start with petition march of the people, and in the middle, barrage of gunfire at the palace square is occurred along with the signal of ominous trumpet. People were massacred, just a pandemonium. This depiction is how Shostakovich is. Frightful scene spine also frosty. And the death were drawn in the sudden silence.
3rd mov. Adagio “Eternal Memory”
Requiem for victims based on the revolutionary funeral march “You Fell as Victims” sung by viola.
4th mov. Allegro non troppo “Tocsin”
Overwhelming climax guided by the power of the people is depicted using revolutionary song “Warsaw Song”. It is concluded with Tocsin against Russian Empire represented by beating of tubular bell.
All movement is played by the attacker, it is the work, such as the feature-length historical movie and novels of Russia.
Well, Shostakovich was considered as “patronized composer” from the people of the West during the Cold War era. He had been anathema to be a composer for the propaganda of socialism to write the music to praise the system.
But when the “Testimony of Shostakovich” by Solomon Volkov was published in 1979, evaluation of Shostakovich has changed dramatically (Some say that it’s an apocryphal book). It confessed that the work group composed during Stalin’s lifetime were written reluctantly to live and the contents of which were full of deception. After this “Testimony”, the evaluation of Shostakovich in the west was changed to “composer who was resistance over the life system” from the “system compliant composer”.
By the way, similar incident occurred in Japan when writing this manuscript.
Mamoru Samuragochi from Hiroshima who claimed to be all deaf and second generation of hibakusha and who is dubbed to be “digital-age Beethoven”, did not compose the pieces by himself. In the contrary to the case of Shostakovich, after that a negative evaluation to the songs began to be heard. It was clearly shown that people generally tend not to evaluate only the pieces but to evaluate them including associated stories.
Various opinions had come out in many places to the general public from experts in a series of fuss, the following was impressive for me.
What’s the classical music world in which people are never being known unless having catchy keyword such as award-winning, being beutiful, being poor or having disorder.
Is the classical music only a “second art” after all? Is there no power in the classical music itself?
However, that the story has a large influence is also true. It is officially said that the Symphony No. 11 of Shostakovich drew the “Bloody Sunday” incident of 1905. But, there is also a theory that it depicts the crush incident liberalization of movement of Hungary by the Soviet Army (so-called Hungarian rising) , which occurred in 1956 a year before this symphony completed. That is, there are two way to hear it. One is to praise the revolutinary government while drawing a brutality of the Romanov dynasty. Another is to praise the revolutinary government ostensibly, but, really, to accuse the Soviet crackdown in Hungary the liberalization movement
“Shostakovich: A Life” by Laurel E. Fay described that “Evil” such as persecution and tyranny, even if the form has changed between the imperialism and the revolutionary government, is theme running through him and it should be known that it is universal throughout the ages”. In fact, it might serve as a model answer that both can be true.
The same is true in the composer more classical. For example,
The impression of Beethoven’s “hero” are very different depending whether regarding it as being dedicated to Napoleon or not.
As the conclusion here, I would not like to say that which listening way is true or not, but I would like to say that the effect of the story on the listening way is large.
The story called for the introduction of the song in the text is also very convenient, as doing here now. However, giving priority to the story than the impression from the work itself is putting the cart before the horse. I think it may be ideal to use the story as a thin edge of the wedge to listen to the works rather than to use it to determine the quality of the work.
I’ve been writing a lot, but I believe that Shostakovich, regardless of the noise around, is a composer who left many great works by itself. I want you to judge your own ear at concert hall.
The second is Prokofiev’s “Scythian Suite”. The Scythians were Iranian equestrian tribes. Diaghilev was interested in Prokofiev to hear Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 played by himself, and asked Prokofiev to write the ballet music about the ancient world. Then, Prokofiev wrote the music for the ballet “Ala and Lolli”, whose story takes place among the Scythians. But when Diaghilev rejected. According to one estimate, Diaghilev said that it is a rehash of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”. The story is different from the “Rite of Spring”, but they may be considered to have common features of the flashy orchestration and the violent folk customs nature. Prokofiev reworked the music into a suite for concert performance, titled “Scythian Suite”. The title of ballet, “Ala and Lolli” is also used together in many cases.
It consists of four movements below drawing the world of good and evil based on nature worship of ancient.
1st mov. “Invocation to Veles and Ala”
The Scythians’ invocation to the sun is described by barbaric and colorful music.
2nd mov. “The Evil God and the Dance of the Pagan Monsters”
As the Scythians make a sacrifice to Ala, daughter of Veles, the Evil God performs a violent dance surrounded by seven monsters
As an aside, this movement is used for BGM of TV commercial as shown below.
I do not know the reason why this movement were used here (laugh). It may be that evil image was addicted to this creature, or that heroic tone of the song was worthy to fisherman.
3rd mov. “Night”
The Evil God harms Ala; the Moon Maidens descend to console her.
4th mov. “The Glorious Departure of Lolli and the Corte`ge of the Sun”
Lolli, the hero, comes to save Ala; the Sun God assists him in defeating the Evil God. They are victorious, and the suite ends with a musical picture of the sunrise.
We play Tchaikovsky’s “Slavonic March” as an opening piece. In June 1876, Serbia and the Ottoman Empire were engaged in the Serbo-Turkish War. Russia openly supported Serbia. Nikolai Rubinstein decided to hold the concert in order to encourage the soldiers and asked to Tchaikovsky pieces for the concert. Tchaikovsky composed this piece. After the introduction of four bars, dark melody that is exerted by the viola and bassoon is a folk song of Serbia. In the middle, Russian Empire Anthem “God Save the Tsar” is sung powerfully by trombone, tube and strings. And it goes furiously toward the climax, and it is concluded enthusiasticly with the fanfare of trumpets that herald the victory.
This piece seems to arouse patriotism, in fact, after the premiere, one reported ‘The whole audience rose to its feet, many jumped up upon their seats: cries of “Bravo” and “Urrah” were mingled together. The march had to be repeated, after which the same storm broke out afresh…It was one of the most stirring moments of 1876. Many in the hall were weeping.’
As an aside, it is considered to be not suitable for the Russian Empire Anthem during the Soviet era, a melody of “A Life for the Tsar” by Glinka was inserted alternatively. This version was played by Soviet orchestra. The same measures were used in the “1812 Overture” in which the Russian Empire Anthem is also used.
Youtube video of these 2 versions are shown below.
Soviet version is too rush job, then causing wry grin. Genius balance of Tchaikovsky is destroyed. It is not merely to tickle the Dilettante, kinky mania mind(laughs).
Please come! I’ll give a free invitation tickets. Do not hesitate to contact me!
This concert is also introduced below.