Czech Philharmonic Jiří Vodička

Czech Philharmonic ⬩ Jiří Vodička

The Czech Philharmonic presents Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony with its Chief Conductor Semyon Bychkov who is internationally acclaimed for his interpretations of the Russian composer’s music. Written in the second half of the 1930s during Stalin’s purges in the Soviet Union, the Symphony earnt Shostakovich a half-hour standing ovation. Today it is regarded as one of the pinnacles of modern music.

Programme

Dmitri Shostakovich
Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 77

Dmitri Shostakovich
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47

Performers

Jiří Vodička violin

Semyon Bychkov conductor

Czech Philharmonic

“Before the war there probably wasn’t a single family who hadn’t lost someone, a father, a brother, or if not a relative, then a close friend. Everyone had someone to cry over, but you had to cry silently, under the blanket, so no one would see. Everyone feared everyone else, and the sorrow oppressed and suffocated us. It suffocated me too. I had to write about it.” — Dmitri Shostakovich

On 21 November 1937 in Soviet Leningrad, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor was heard for the first time. The atmosphere in the hall was tense, and not just because of the societal expectations that came with the premiere of a major symphonic work by a famous composer in those days. Everyone in attendance knew that nothing by the composer had been heard in public for two years because his music had displeased Stalin.

During the Great Terror, Shostakovich’s life hung in the balance, and many of his acquaintances, friends, and even relatives lost their lives. In Shostakovich’s instance, however, Stalin was aware that the composer was world famous and that his music was played in the most prestigious concert halls internationally. Stalin therefore did not want to destroy him but instead to change him or tame him. Whether Shostakovich let himself be tamed is up to the listeners to decide.

Since the Romantic era, classical music has been celebrated for its ability to encapsulate different moods, often including the most extreme. Dmitri Shostakovich further enriched that range with his notorious irony. He was also a composer who thought polyphonically, juxtaposing musical ideas in sharp and often unexpected contrasts. Moreover, seldom in his music are emotions or moods depicted unambiguously. Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony stands out for all these reasons. In the dark and dramatic first movement, there are flashes of lyricism and tenderness. A joyous smile is frozen on the lips of the satirical dance which proceeds it. The sorrowful and quiet Largo of the third movement is interrupted by heartrending cries of suffering, and in the frantic finale, festive optimism becomes strained and turgid.

Presented alongside the Fifth Symphony will be Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto in A minor performed by the Czech Philharmonic’s Concertmaster Jiří Vodička. Written in 1947-48 when all music was subject to censorship under the Zhdanov Doctrine, the concerto was deemed an ideologically problematic work and could not be performed publicly for several years. The great violinist David Oistrakh finally gave the concerto its very successful premiere in 1955 in Leningrad, and since then the work has been celebrated worldwide.

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

3/26/2025 Wednesday 7:30 PM
3/27/2025 Thursday 7:30 PM
3/28/2025 Friday 7:30 PM

How to buy tickets

Buy online

For online shopping you will be redirected to the website of the Czech Philharmonic.

Personally at the Rudolfinum cash desk

Information not only about available seats will be provided by the customer service of the Czech Philharmonic.

Reservation of seats for current subscribers:
until 3 June 2024, 20.00
Sale of individual tickets for subscription concerts:
from 10 June 2024, 10.00
Ticket sales for all public dress rehearsals:
from 11 September 2024, 10.00

Customer Service of Czech Philharmonic

Tel.: +420 227 059 227
E-mail: info@czechphilharmonic.cz

Customer service is available on weekdays from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm.

Reservation of seats for current subscribers:
until 3 June 2024, 20.00
Sale of individual tickets for subscription concerts:
from 10 June 2024, 10.00
Ticket sales for all public dress rehearsals:
from 11 September 2024, 10.00

Customer Service of Czech Philharmonic

Tel.: +420 227 059 227
E-mail: info@czechphilharmonic.cz

Customer service is available on weekdays from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm.