Shostakovich’s rich, poetic symphony | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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Shostakovich’s rich, poetic symphony

Performance’s new translation of poems makes text on the 14th Symphony more accurate, but loses fluidity from the original arrangement

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Nine is a lucky number here in Thailand, but was less so for some of the great European composers. The story goes that Gustav Mahler, a superstitious man, was especially spooked by the number nine. Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak, and Bruckner all died after competing their 9th symphonies. To sidestep the same fate, when Mahler began to write his 9th Symphony, (Das Lied Von Der Erde) he labelled it his 10th. 

Shostakovich: Symphony No 14, Op 135. Gal James (soprano), Alexander Vinogradov (baritone), Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko. A Naxos CD or download.

The dodge didn’t work and Mahler died while he was working on his 10th (or 11th, depending on perspective); leaving only two finished movements and outlines for three more. Since his demise, composers and musical scholars have been attempting to complete it ever since.

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