MTT: GAUTIER CAPUÇON PLAYS SHOSTAKOVICH

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Artists

San Francisco Symphony

program

Cello Concerto No. 2
Dmitri Shostakovich
Symphony No. 5
Sergei Prokofiev

performances

Davies Symphony Hall

Thu, Jan 20, 2022 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Fri, Jan 21, 2022 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Sat, Jan 22, 2022 at 7:30PM

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If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

THESE CONCERTS, A PART OF THE BARBRO AND BERNARD OSHER MASTERWORKS SERIES, ARE MADE POSSIBLE BY A GENEROUS GIFT FROM BARBRO AND BERNARD OSHER.

THESE CONCERTS ARE GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY THE MATTHEW KELLY FAMILY FOUNDATION AND NELLIE & MAX LEVCHIN.

Event Description

Written for celebrated cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto brings the audience into a musical conversation between two close friends, as soloist and orchestra trade ideas, jokes, and emotions. Longtime collaborators Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas and cellist superstar Gautier Capuçon continue the dialogue of musical minds in this concert, which also features Sergei Prokofiev’s immensely moving Fifth Symphony.

AT A GLANCE

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote both of his cello concertos with the extraordinary expressive range of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in mind. Yet when he began to conceive the Second Concerto, he considered taking it in the direction of a symphony, commenting to a friend, “It seems to me that the Second Concerto could have been called the Fourteenth Symphony with a solo cello part.” The Second Cello Concerto anticipates the leaner and sometimes oddly mercurial style of Shostakovich’s last works in general. Moreover, the fact that this was a significant anniversary year for Shostakovich (his sixtieth) may have occasioned a desire to look inward. Yet its enigmas resist facile translations into autobiography. This is very much a piece about music itself, albeit one in which the extroverted, virtuoso display so closely associated with a concerto is largely absent.
 
The Second World War was in full swing while Sergei Prokofiev worked on the Fifth Symphony, during the summer of 1944, but he was sheltered from the conflict living in an artists’ retreat 150 miles northeast of Moscow.  “I regard the Fifth Symphony as the culmination of a long period of my creative life,” he wrote shortly after its premiere. “I conceived of it as glorifying the grandeur of the human spirit … praising the free and happy man—his strength, his generosity, and the purity of his soul.” Prokofiev was a master melodist, and one marvels throughout this symphony at not just the elegant craftsmanship of his melodies but also at how memorable they are, easily recognized even as he slows down their rhythms, robes them in new apparel through refashioning of orchestration, or tosses them about from one player to another. 
 
After notes by James M. Keller and Thomas May
 
For more information, including full program notes, visit the San Francisco Symphony’s digital program book platform at sfsymphony.encoreplus.app or text “SFS Concert” to 55741.
 

Concert Extras

Pre-Concert Talk: Join us for an informative “Inside Music” talk from the stage with Peter Grunberg. Free to all ticketholders, these talks begin one hour before the January 20-22 performances. Doors open 15 minutes before.

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