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One of the greatest ever pieces of music is the climax of tonight's Concert.
Tonight's concert opens with Dmitri Shostakovich's Festive Overture. It was begun by the composer in 1947 to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution which brought Lenin's Bolshevik party to power and deposed the ruling Romanov dynasty. But soon afterwards Shostakovich became a victim of Stalin's cultural commissar and was branded as a peddler of 'the cult of atonality, dissonance and discord.' The Overture was not premiered till 1954, after Stalin's death, and Shostakovich had to pretend he had only just written it.
Mozart's Violin Concerto No.4 in D major is a more extrovert and virtuoso work than his first three. Composed in the traditional key for trumpets and horns, it opens with a brass-like fanfare. The second movement is calm and simple and, in contrast to the striking conclusion to his first violin concerto in D major, this one seems to fade away.
Beethoven's 'Choral' Symphony is arguably the greatest symphony ever composed: the summit of his achievements, a masterful musical celebration of the human race and a massive work that makes all who hear it feel better about life. It's famous for its setting of Friedrich Schiller’s poem 'Ode to Joy' – a text the composer had been fascinated with for over twenty years: "Mercy from the final judge! The dead shall live! Brothers, drink and chime in, all sinners shall be forgiven and hell shall be no more!" Triumphant words that perfectly match the power and scale of Beethoven’s immortal music.
Dmitri Shostakovich: Festive Overture Opus 96
Riccardo Muti conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No.4 in D major K.218
Arabella Steinbacher directs the Lucerne Festival Strings from the violin
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.9 in D minor Opus 125
Soloists: Barbara Bonney, Birgit Remmert, Kurt Streit, Thomas Hampson
Simon Rattle conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and CBSO Chorus