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Four Last Songs / Shostakovich No.4

  • Waterfront Hall, Belfast, BT1 3WH (map)

Dorothea Röschmann Soprano

Rafael Payare Conductor

Strauss Four Last Songs

Shoshtakovich Symphony No.4

Tickets and more info here: https://www.ulsterorchestra.org.uk/whats-on/four-last-songs/

Richard Strauss finished a prolific career as a writer of songs with four of the most sublime ever written, composed for his beloved soprano voice. Four Last Songs was completed the year before he died and inspired by the poets Josef von Eichendorff and Herman Hesse, Four Last Songs tackles the subject of death with serenity and acceptance. The glorious lyricisim of the writing demands a singer of soaring radiance and in Dorothea Röschmann we welcome one of the great sopranos performing today. “…the intelligence and commitment of her performance elevate the poetry.” (Gramophone Magazine)

Shostakovich was midway through writing the Fourth Symphony when Pravda denounced him for the first time, following Stalin’s visit to see Lady MacBeth of the Mtsensk District. He was under enormous pressure from the State to write a work that would restore his reputation, but the caricatured moods, violence and claustrophobia of the Fourth Symphony definitely did not fit the Communist Ideal the State would have preferred and Shostakovich cancelled the première. Instead his Fifth Symphony was the work to restore his reputation – a work which, it could be argued, hid his criticism and mockery of Stalin with more subtlety.

Shostakovich’s motivations and meanings may be unclear but listening to the Fourth reveals an enormous work on a huge scale. As part of the Association of British Orchestras’ Annual Conference, the Ulster Orchestra is delighted to welcome professional musicians from across Europe to create the huge orchestral force this work demands – around 100 musicians will take to the stage for this collaboration across the classical music industry.

Later Event: February 14
Rambert - Glasgow