At a Glance
This concert pairs two major works from the 19th and 20th centuries that came at pivotal points in their composers' careers. Coming just before the onset of deafness that ended Beethoven's career as a pianist, the Fourth Piano Concerto signaled a new inwardness and formal originality in his output. Each movement is scored differently, each eschews predictable Classical patterns, and each gives the pianist unusual opportunities for melodic expression and depth of feeling.
Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony saved his career—and perhaps his life—during the worst period of Stalinist oppression, sparking endless debate over the composer's ideological and political intentions and alleged musical codes. The music itself is eloquent, emotionally varied, and brilliantly orchestrated. Its use of concise motifs in a large design is reminiscent of Beethoven's methods.