DUOS Symphony Concert
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25 November 2017 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Showcasing the university’s top orchestral musicians in full flow, the Orchestral Society’s Symphony Orchestra kicks off their 2017-18 season with an almighty bang. Join us for a concert that will journey from the pompous and regal to the sublime and lyrical to the soul-crushingly dark and complex, all in the splendid acoustic of Elvet Methodist Church. For a large number in the orchestra, this will be their very first performance in Durham; you can expect their excitement to give the music a palpable energy.
Opening the concert is Shostakovich’s colossal ‘Festive Overture’. Composed in just three days to commemorate the October Revolution, this piece brings the formidable DUOS brass section to the fore in a rousing musical example of Russian nationalist propaganda. Sweeping melodies are interspersed with deafening fanfares to create a breathless piece that simply allows the orchestra to let rip – not one for the faint-hearted.
This is followed by a sudden change of pace with Smetana’s ‘Vltava’ from ‘Ma Vlast’. The piece brings the audience on a journey along the Vlatava River in the Czech Republic, evoking bubbling streams, dancing mermaids, pastoral meadows, grand palaces and swirling rapids as it moves through the countryside. This range of styles and tones creates a refreshing musical tapestry that never fails to brighten up an evening. Rounding off the first half is Reinecke’s glorious Flute Concerto in D major with soloist Ellie Holland. All of the colours the flute has to offer are on show in this charming concerto that gives a delightful contrast to the bombast elsewhere.
The second half is given over entirely to the orchestral tour-de-force that is Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. Devilishly hard to understand, it was composed ostensibly to appease Stalin (who had a dislike to one of Shostakovich’s latest works); however many critics detect elements of open defiance within the music that suggest an attempt by Shostakovich to retain his dignity. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the ostentatious and triumphant yet hollow ending was intended as a satire of the sycophantic, fawning cult of personality that surrounded Stalin at the time. This dark and clearly troubled undercurrent gives an enormous challenge to the orchestra, even as it brings considerable horsepower to bear, there must always be a question unanswered.
Important Event Information
Doors Open: 7pm
Ticket Prices: Adult £8, Student £6
Music Durham Member Tickets: £5
Ticket Availability: Tickets available online until 5pm on the day of the concert
Ticket Delivery: eTicket (print at home or display on mobile)
Accessibility: Please get in touch to confirm arrangements