(Note: Blogging for Steve Robinson this week, please welcome WFMT Program Director, Peter Whorf--)
I'm very excited about what we've put together to celebrate the 100th birthday of Shostakovich in September. The entire schedule throughout the month features the complete symphonies, operas and concerti of Shostakovich, as well as commentary from the composer taken from the Friday, September 29th special, Shostakovich Speaks. More on that later...
The birthday week itself is loaded with special programming every evening. Our festival begins on Monday, September 25 at 8pm with producer and host Jon Tolansky's I Recall Shostakovich. Jon Tolansky has worked on this special documentary for over a year, chronicling the life and art of Dmitri Shostakovich. The program features commentary from many of the artists who knew and worked with him, including Rostropovich, Sanderling and many others. It's an incredible piece of work, rich in detail and sound.
Tuesday brings Peter VDG's LaSalle Tuesday Night Opera and DSCH's Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk - the work that brought DSCH considerable initial praise. Just two years later (after Stalin attended a performance) it was denounced in Pravda.
On Wednesday at 8pm, we'll re-broadcast Shostakovich:The Seventh and Beyond, which is basically a collage of symphony movements and readings from DSCH letters. Kerry Frumkin is featured throughout the 90-minute special as he reads excerpts of DSCH letters to Leningrad critic and friend Isaac Glickman.
Thursday, Kerry takes our show on the road as WFMT broadcasts live from Avery Fisher Hall. We'll feature the New York Philharmonic with DSCH's Symphony #5 and the first cello concerto with Lynn Harrell. Maazel conducts.
Some of the best is saved for last. Months ago, a listener sent us a recording that he had made off the radio of WFMT's 1973 roundtable with Dmitri Shostakovich - discussing contemporary music and his own compositions. Norman Pellegrini hosted the program, which was made upon the occasion of DSCH receiving an honorary doctorate at Northwestern. It's an absolutely amazing document, and we'll hear it in its entirety. It's very "raw" audio in some ways, but it will be like opening a time capsule.
Also, here are a few DSCH images from childhood through his later years.
Hope you enjoy.