Performance Thursday, April 16, 2015 | 8 PM

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto set the standard for the great violin concertos of the Romantic era. Longer in duration, more richly orchestrated and featuring a solo part more difficult than anything that came before, it’s quintessential Beethoven. Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, popularly believed to be a musical depiction of the horrors of the Stalin era, is a scorching, tragic masterpiece featuring a terrifying march thought to be a portrait of the Soviet dictator.


  • Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Andris Nelsons, Music Director and Conductor
  • Christian Tetzlaff, Violin


  • SHOSTAKOVICH Passacaglia from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
  • BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto
  • SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 10

  • Encore:
  • BACH Allegro assai from Solo Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two and one half hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Andris Nelsons

    Andris Nelsons begins his tenure as the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Ray and Maria Stata Music Director with the 2014-2015 season, during which he leads the orchestra in 10 programs at Symphony Hall, repeating three of them at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Nelsons made his BSO debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, conducting Mahler's Symphony No. 9; he made his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, leading both the BSO and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as part of Tanglewood's 75th Anniversary Gala (a concert available on DVD and Blu-ray, and telecast nationwide on PBS). He is the 15th music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His first compact disc with the BSO (also available as a download)--live recordings of Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture and Sibelius's Symphony No. 2, from concert performances given this past fall at Symphony Hall in Boston--was released on BSO Classics in November.

    Maestro Nelsons has been critically acclaimed as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since assuming that post in 2008; he remains at the helm of that orchestra until summer 2015. Over the next few seasons he will continue collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonia Orchestra. He is a regular guest at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Vienna State Opera; and the Metropolitan Opera. In summer 2014, he returned to the Bayreuth Festival to conduct Lohengrin, a production by Hans Neuenfels that Mr. Nelsons premiered there in 2010.

    Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was principal conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, from 2006 to 2009 and music director of the Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007. Mr. Nelsons is the subject of a recent DVD from Orfeo, a documentary film entitled Andris Nelsons: Genius on Fire.

    More Info

  • Christian Tetzlaff

    Christian Tetzlaff is internationally recognized as one of the most important violinists of his generation, performing and recording a broad spectrum of the repertoire. Also dedicated to chamber music, he collaborates frequently with distinguished artists and is the founder of the Tetzlaff Quartet. Born in Hamburg in 1966, he grew up in a musical family; his three siblings are all professional musicians. In demand as a soloist with many of the world's leading orchestras and conductors, Mr. Tetzlaff has established close artistic partnerships that are renewed season after season; he also appears regularly in recital. Highlights of his 2014-2015 season in North America include performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston and at Carnegie Hall, as well as re-engagements with The Cleveland Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Montreal, Seattle, and Pittsburgh; appearances at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival and Chicago's Grant Park Music Festival; opening the 92nd Street Y's season with the complete Bach unaccompanied sonatas and partitas; and duo recitals with Lars Vogt in Santa Fe, Berkeley, La Jolla, and Santa Barbara. Internationally this season he serves as artist-in-residence with the Berliner Philharmoniker; appears with the Munich Philharmonic, London Symphony, and Vienna Symphony orchestras; and is the featured soloist on tours with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Europe and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in Asia. As a 2010-2011 Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist, Mr. Tetzlaff curated a personal concert series at Carnegie Hall, which included a concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra featuring concertos by Mozart, Bartók, and Harrison Birtwistle; appearances as conductor and soloist with the Orchestra of St. Luke's; performances with Ensemble ACJW under Sir Simon Rattle; collaborations with the Tetzlaff Quartet and violinist Antje Weithaas; and a workshop for young violinists and pianists, culminating in a Young Artists Concert. Mr. Tetzlaff's recordings reflect the breadth of his musical interests, including solo works, chamber music, and concertos that range from Haydn to Bartók. He currently performs on a violin modeled after a Guarneri del Gesù and made by the German violin maker Peter Greiner. Musical America named Mr. Tetzlaff Instrumentalist of the Year in 2005.

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Mahler's Symphony No. 6 (Allegro energico, ma non troppo)
Boston Symphony Orchestra | Seiji Ozawa, Conductor
Universal International Music

At a Glance

The outer works on this program circumscribe the period during which Dmitri Shostakovich labored under the life-threatening shadow of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. In 1936, despite its immensely successful 1934 premiere, Shostakovich and his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk were denounced for the opera’s advanced musical language—as well as the lurid, violent nature of its subject—in the newspaper Pravda, which carried the weight of official censure. The orchestral Passacaglia from Act II—one of the work’s most intense and evocative passages—uses the Baroque form of the passacaglia, with its repeating bass line and harmonic framework, to suggest the unstoppable course of the action following the title character’s poisoning of her husband's father.

Shostakovich’s subsequent works were mercilessly scrutinized; when he wrote the Tenth Symphony soon after Stalin’s death in 1953, he had avoided that notably public genre for eight years. Considered one of his greatest achievements, the Tenth Symphony was said by the composer simply “to express human emotions and passions,” but it is now typically understood as his personal response to Stalin’s death. In particular, it is suggested that the second movement was intended as a musical portrait of the late dictator, and that Shostakovich’s intensifying use of his personal musical signature in the third and fourth movements declares his ability ultimately to survive.

Beethoven wrote his Violin Concerto in 1806 for violinist Franz Clement, who was musical director and concertmaster at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien; it was one of several major pieces Beethoven completed in quick succession after dedicating most of 1804 and 1805 to work on the opera that would a decade later become Fidelio. Also among these works were his Fourth Symphony and Fourth Piano Concerto, which, like the Violin Concerto, reveal a certain expansion of Beethoven’s style to include a broad, lyric vein that developed concurrently with the “heroic” style of the “Eroica” and Fifth symphonies.
Program Notes
KPMG 124X46
Sponsored by KPMG LLP
This performance is part of Russian Romance, and Great American Orchestras II.