Sjostakovitj No. 14

Concert 26.1

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Sjostakovitj No. 14

Three heavyweights from music history are the focus of this concert that alternates between two themes: death and awe-inspiring nature. The collaborating soloists will be Ludvig Lindström and Rebecca Rasmussen, who we will also have the pleasure of listening to in Carmen.

"Everything I have written up until now has been preparation for this work." So said Dmitri Shostakovitch, (1906-1975) one of the 20th century's foremost composers. Like so many others nearing the end of their lives, the Russian composer began to think deeply about death. When he heard Mussorgsky's song cycle Songs and Dances of Death, he was seized by the desire to write something similar. The result was his dark Symphony No. 14, which is unlike anything else he had written.


With its unusual combination of a soprano, a bass, a small string orchestra and percussion, the work is perhaps more reminiscent of a song cycle than a symphony. The soloists for the performance are Umeå-born Ludvig Lindström and soprano Rebecca Rasmussen; two exciting vocalists whom we will also hear in the opera Carmen in March and April. The symphony was dedicated to Benjamin Britten, who also directed its première in England.


Both Britten and Shostakovitch were deeply fascinated by Gustav Mahler (1860-1913) and the concert begins with Britten's delightful arrangement of What the Wild Flowers Tell Me from Mahler's third symphony. The music's stage is the Austrian Alps, with its beautiful lakes and forests.


We will also hear Benjamin Britten's orchestral suite Four Sea Interludes from his opera Peter Grimes, which strikingly depicts the shifting moods of the sea.



Conductor: Rumon Gamba

Soloists: Rebecca Rasmussen, sopran, Ludvig Lindström, bas

NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra



Mahler/Britten: What the Wild Flowers Tell Me (2nd movement from Gustav Mahlers third symphony in arrangement by Benjamin Britten)

Britten: Four Sea Interludes ur Peter Grimes

Sjostakovitj: Symfoni No. 14


Informal debriefing in the Concert hall.