Review: St. Louis Symphony program: Salonen, Shostakovich, and a U.S. premiere

Posted on: October 2, 2018

“Leila Josefowicz brought the violin concerto written for her by Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2009 to Powell Hall for its debut with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the experience was intense,” writes Daniel Neman in Sunday’s (9/30) St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “This is a work of fire and fury, played with stunning virtuosity by Josefowicz…. But even with the fireworks of Josefowicz and the Salonen concerto, the highlight of the evening was the Shostakovich Symphony No. 11 … a highly programmatic … telling of the tragedy that began Russia’s failed 1905 Revolution…. After a snowy, soft, foreboding adagio section, the piece moves without pause to an allegro movement called ‘The Ninth of January.’ That was the date in 1905 when a crowd of peaceful marchers was fired upon by the army… Intense, heated and discordant music leads to the massacre…. The rest of the work is funereal at first, then inspirational…. The uneasy last couple of minutes [feature] a solitary concluding chime that [guest conductor Hannu] Lintu held as long as sonically possible before thunderous applause. The program opened with the U.S. premiere of ‘Flounce,’ by Lotta Wennäkoski … whimsically scored (a slide whistle?), and rousing fun.”

Posted October 2, 2018