The Atlanta Symphony concerts being held this weekend feature Russian masterworks.
Guest soloist James Ehnes will perform the Violin Concerto by Tchaikovsky, and conductor Donald Runnicles will lead the ASO in Symphony No. 15 by Dmitri Shostakovich. Both conductor and violinist stopped by WABE ahead of the concerts.
Shostakovich spent many years navigating the oppression of Josef Stalin’s regime, serving time under house arrest. Much of his later music expresses the devastation of war and persecution. His final symphony does not have a program or story attached to it — yet the music suggests one.
“I believe that [Shostakovich] did have a narrative in mind. I believe that those who know his music and know his symphonies, his string quartets, his operas, will immediately recognize some of the illusions and direct quotes using his own themes,” Runnicles said. “Just when you think you’ve reached a breaking point in terms of this intensity, there’s all of a sudden a quote from the William Tell Overture.”
The concert will be held in Symphony Hall Saturday at 8 p.m.