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Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony - 70th anniversary
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:09 pm    Post subject: Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony - 70th anniversary Reply with quote

Just come home from a night at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. A splendid performance by the Russian National Orchestra of the Leningrad Symphony. Was famously broadcast from Leningrad in 1942 during the Blockade. Ah, how lucky we are to be living and working in Russia and able to attend such cultural events!

Спасибо, Дмитрий! Даже 70 лет спустя твоя музыка затрагивает самые глубокие струны русской души!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maOgxgyFljE&feature=related
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expatella_girl



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 224
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So true!

But I must say that the Tchaikovsky is my least favorite concert hall in Moscow. Stark, open, bare, of dreadful acustics....

But the Moscow Conservatory may be my favorite place on earth. I heard Beethoven's 9th Symphony there on the very day before I left Russia--snowing, winter, late on a Sunday afternoon--and I think I can never watch Beethoven's 9th again. That performance on that day in that place can never be surpassed.

It was the experience of a lifetime.

I love the Conservatory from the very bottom of my heart. There is nothing about Russia that I miss more....nothing.... Crying or Very sad I will miss it forever and ever.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm no expert on acoustics, though I think you are right about the Tchaikovsky Hall. However, for the Seventh it didn't really matter. Heard every quiet note, felt in my chest every symbol crash and drum beat. I doubt the local audience cared much either, judging by the quiet tears of grief remembered rolling down their cheeks.

The point, which seemed lost on some of my foreign friends in the audience, was that we are, every one of us, lucky that there is any cultural life left at all, and that that this music can still be heard today is a lasting testament to Russia's determination to survive and triumph for all humanity.

In any case, glad to see I am not the only one who thinks these matters are important, or should be, to teachers based here. I am also quite envious of your concert-going experience : )
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expatella_girl



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 224
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know! I was always completely confuddled as to how so many expats could live in Moscow, see nothing but bars and strip clubs and expat diners, whinge endlessly about the lack of *western* amenities, and utterly miss all the amazing, beautiful, and uniquely Russian things all around them. I was one of the only concert goers I knew in 5 years in Moscow.

I hit them all. The Bolshoi (pre-renovation), The Conservatory as often as possible, The Kremlin palace theatre, another gem the Stanislavski, the very dear Gnessin Hall, the Helikon.

How_can_you_be_in_Moscow and ignore the brilliant legacy of the Russian performing arts all around you? World class stuff and dear god the tickets are cheap! (when you can persuade the curmudgeonly kacca babushki to sell them Rolling Eyes )

NO ONE can play the Russian composers like the Russians can. I now have a lifelong love affair with Tchaikovsky, I am smitten. I have just chosen season symphony tickets in my American city and it's all Tchaikovsky all the time. But a poor substitute for the glorious Moscow concert season....my heart aches for it.

You are very lucky indeed Sashadroogie. I am all envy.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At last! I've met another who sees the truth! Couldn't agree more with every one of your sentiments. However, I'd have to say that there are plenty of excellent American orchestras out there. True, not as good as the Motherland's, hee hee, but I think far from being just a poor substitute.

For so long I thought I was the only one! Most go and play a Glazunov symphony to celebrate. Or maybe an Emil Gilels recording...
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS

Maybe you've seen this already, but if not, here's the Melodiya website:

http://www.melody.su/eng/

Listen to some of the best Russian recordings going. Enjoy!
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expatella_girl



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 224
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To say " there are plenty of excellent American orchestras out there" is a plea of poverty covering thousands of square miles and dozens of American cities when--JUST Moscow--exceeds everything in America combined.

The arts in Russia are uber fabulous. Not just the classical composers, but performance theatre, street theatre, dance, street musicians, painters, sculptors, monuments, museums, fairgrounds, architecture, parks and palaces.....

The Arts in Moscow are a treat and a delight and cheap and available and top quality everywhere you look. Better cannot be found anywhere in the world in such dense quantity and quality.

The bars and hookers and clubs are for expat suckers who cannot recognize quality and value when they see it, and throw their lives and money away on cheap thrills. Tragedy.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No argument from me about how special Moscow is - and how the sheer range and depth of talent can leave you intoxicated. Just that I do not think American arts can be written off so easily. Admittedly, I'm basing this on opera DVDs and CDs that I have, and from my Russian musician friends who have played with American symphony orchestras. All extremely impressive too. True, the concentration in Moscow, and St Petersburg for that matter, is higher than the States generally. But this is probably true of most of the Russian heartlands also. Surely New York, visual arts capital of the world, boasts an orchestra to compare?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyway, though I'm sure you have heard this before, here's the god-like Gilels playing Tchaikovsky's Concerto No 1. In New York, as it happens. Sound isn't great, but he is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiPoXh57IAM

Enjoy!
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expatella_girl



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 224
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie, flawed audio^^, but a thrashing performance, yes!

Tell you what though, not just the concert halls and classical composers, Russians have music flowing through their veins. I also love traditional/folk/country Russian. In Russia the music never stops!

Check out this premier rendition of Очи черные, the best I have ever heard. And the cello sized balilika~wow. Great stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRWRfE523_o

I love it!
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Expatellagirl! After careful deliberation with the Politburo, it has been decided to draft you into the ranks. We'd like to appoint you commissar with the Cultural Attache responsible for musical propaganda and dissemination in the USA. We are thinking of a recruitment drive there to increase our pool of English teachers working in the Motherland. Perhaps a 'lessons for concert tickets' type of exchange deal. We think you'd be ideal for the job! Will you answer the call?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABby6nGIeHM&feature=related
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expatella_girl



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 224
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

....Waiting for other Roosky music enthusiasts to chip in on this thread.....


/crickets/
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njs7t3



Joined: 30 Aug 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Moscow, Russia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in, I just need to get there first... Smile
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1022
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:25 pm    Post subject: Sasha,you've done it again! Reply with quote

One of the things I did always like about Russia was the chance to listen to good music at incredibly good prices compared to those at many western concerts and the Tchaikovsky hall brings back a lot of memories-I am also very interested in Shostakovitch and his music and have been studying and researching it for years so your posting was bang on the nail for me!By the way,I also was lucky enough to meet one of the surviving players from the first performance of the Leningrad symphony and of course it was very interesting to talk with him!Incidentally,this symphony is just as much about how the city suffered under Stalinism as much as under the Nazi siege,but of course that was never openly discussed at the time or for many years afterwards.......this work is deceptively hard to perform successfully and Russian orchestras and conductors are perhaps best suited to it,although the London proms had a very good performance this season by a western orchestra.If not performed right it can sound very gung-ho and more like pastiche music for a war film than a symphony.
Much as I like the Leningrad it is probably not my favourite Shostakovitch symphony-for something quite scary try the 13th,especially the 4th movement 'fears'.Also very interesting is the 15th,his last, with each of the movements saying many things musically that could not be expressed in words during the Soviet era.Of course the 5th is the best known of all and I challenge anyone to listen to the third movement without getting caught up in it's incredible emotions......
My own experience at Tchaikovsky hall was the 1st violin concerto with Maxim Vengerov..anyone who knows this music will also agree why I found it very moving.
Anybody who is mutually interested in anything I have raised in this posting please feel free to p.m. me.Thanks.
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expatella_girl



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 224
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got to admit, even though I am aware of the relevance of the backround of Shostakovitch's music and its significance in Russian history.....I just don't like Shostakovitch. Can't sit through it. For me a Shostakovitch symphony is a punishment.

(My apologies to all Russians and Shostakovitch music lovers. I'm sorry Embarassed )

But Rachmaninov, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, I love them all.

What other single country can boast such a canon of premier composers? Nothing and nowhere can compare to the accomplishments of the Russian composers. They are in a league all of their own.

(shame Beethoven wasn't Russian)
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