Sun, Mar 05|
Wellesley College - Pendleton West 101
Lysenko and Shostakovich at Wellesley College
Sheffield Chamber Players returns to Wellesley College with a program juxtaposing a string trio by the grandfather of the 19th century Ukrainian compositional school, Mykola Lysenko, and a string quartet by one of the most important Russian composers of the 20th century, Dmitry Shostakovich.
Time & Location
Mar 05, 2023, 7:00 PM
Wellesley College - Pendleton West 101 , Wellesley College Rd, Wellesley, MA, USA
About the event
This year, the Sheffield Chamber Players return with a program juxtaposing a string trio by the grandfather of the 19th century Ukrainian compositional school, Mykola Lysenko, and a string quartet by one of the most important Russian composers of the 20th century, Dmitry Shostakovich.
The performance of each piece will be preceded by a discussion. After the performance, there will be a Q&A session with the audience.
Young Mykola Lysenko was finishing his studies at Leipzig in 1869 when he wrote his String Trio in A-minor as a graduation piece. Today Lysenko deservedly occupies a lofty throne as the seminal Ukrainian composer and founder of the Ukrainian national compositional school, but when he wrote this trio, all of Lysenko’s major accomplishments were still ahead of him. Yet this early creation shows command over detail, form, and expression characteristic of an established master of the “Old German School.” Schumannesque moments that turn on a dime and complex Romantic harmonies somehow exist in parallel with recognizable Ukrainian folk inspirations, clearly foreshadowing his future style and legacy.
We then turn to Shostakovich’s heart wrenching Quartet No. 11, written in 1966 following the untimely death of his dear friend and collaborator Vasily Shirinsky, a founding member of the Beethoven String Quartet, which premiered all 10 of Shostakovich’s previous quartets, and played together for more than 40 years without a personnel change. This loss was devastating for Shostakovich, and for the quartet, and this 11th quartet feels like a very personal expression of his grief. Throughout the piece, the textures are extremely spare, with Shostakovich utilizing only a few voices at a time, as though writing the absence they were all feeling into the music.
Lysenko’s spirited romanticism and assertive Ukrainianism, combined with Shostakovich’s powerful tribute to the loss of a friend, and perhaps to his own mortality, gain a new dimension in the context of current events.
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