Concert Review: Los Angeles Philharmonic offers Shostakovich’s “Orango”

Posted on: December 5, 2011

In Monday’s (12/5) Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed writes, “The fragment of Shostakovich’s 1932 satiric opera, ‘Orango,’ given its world premiere by the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Friday night in Walt Disney Concert Hall, came like a bolt out of the blue. But that is only in the sense that the work, which had been intended as a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Soviet revolution, was so little known. Even the composer’s widow, Irina Shostakovich, who attended the Disney premiere, only learned of ‘Orango’ when a musicologist discovered a sketch of its prologue in a Russian archive in 2004. … After intermission, [Esa-Pekka] Salonen and the L.A. Phil gave a gripping performance of what is perhaps Shostakovich’s most unsettling major work, his Fourth Symphony, which was written shortly after ‘Orango,’ to help explain where this massively convulsive symphony comes from. … The music for ‘Orango’ is also all over the place, including a parody of a Russian nursery rhyme and a sentimental ballet, along with cries of mock anguish and of genuine anguish. … Salonen led a certain and compelling performance from the L.A. Phil and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.”

Posted December 5, 2011