This year marks the 100th anniversary of Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution and the 60th anniversary of Shostakovich’s “The Year 1905” Symphony No. 11. When Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra plays that piece of music this weekend, you’ll have the chance to debate a rare question at the symphony: Is this music good?
There’s much that’s controversial about Shostakovich, including whether or not he actually wrote his own memoirs. While there’s little doubt about his status as one of the 20th century’s great symphonists and the depths of his suffering under the Communist regime, the facts are he still kowtowed to the genocidal government in charge and composed quite a bit of bad, self-indulgent music to bring glory to it. To what extent did he do this because he had to, and to what extent did he want to? To what extent did he include coded messages and alternate interpretations inside his musical works to make them subversive? And is the Eleventh Symphony, which was written in praise of the failed attempt to overthrow the Russian tsars, a cinematic rush of energy or a grandiose paean to the Soviet state?
Andrew Grams conducts the piece along with Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto, on which Karen Gomyo will be the soloist.
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra plays Fri-Sun at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. Tickets are $23-78. Cal 817-665-6000.