Schumann and Shostakovich- Just a year late

Much as I’m happy to see Shostakovich getting so much attention in his 100th anniversary year, I’ve been a bit sad to see the 150th anniversary of the death of Robert Schumann go almost completely unnoticed, except at On An Overgrown Path

I actually very lovingly set out to combine the two anniversaries into a mini-series with the Surrey Mozart Players. The idea was to do back to back concerts of one symphony and one solo work by each, paired with a Beethoven overture (Beethoven being arguably the largest influence on either). The programs were going to look like this 

Beethoven- Coriolan Overture 

Schumann- Cello Concerto 

Shostakovich- Chamber Symphony op 83a Beethoven- Leonore Overture No. 3 Shostakovich- Poems of Maria Tsvetayeva 

Schumann- Symphony No. 3  I actually thought the pairing was exceptionally interesting and put both of them in a fresh context. Schumann the polemicist versus Shostakovich the yurodivy, Florestan and Eusebius versus Shostakovich the Old (loyal son of the regime) and New (secret dissident), it was going to be great. Well, soloist cost, the lack of people who can sing in Russian, marketing concerns and scheduling issues nearly did us in, but in the end we managed to keep everything except the songs, which have been replaced by the Prokofiev 2nd fiddle concerto, which is a great piece, it just doesn’t fit the theme.  Sadly, by the time we had dealt with soloist availability and all that we ended up with both concerts in 2007…. 

c. 2006 Kenneth Woods

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

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