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2006 Mozart and Shostakovich

In addition to being the 250th anniversary of the birth year of Mozart, 2006 marks the centennial of Shostakovich’s birth. Few composers have pursued their art under more disparate circumstances than these two creative geniuses. While each showed great promise at an early age, Shostakovich struggled under an oppressive Soviet regime, while Salzburg’s promising wunderkind traveled Europe freely and enjoyed the life of a cultural celebrity. Stalin’s stifling cultural mandates and the grave social circumstances of the time served as impetus for many of Shostakovich’s most disturbing and powerful works. The dolorous Piano Trio no. 2, composed as an elegy for the young Russian intellectual (and Stalin’s public scapegoat) Ivan Sollertinsky, traces the writer’s path from youthful vigor to untimely death. Mozart’s Piano Quartet in g minor ends the program, blossoming from its famous brusque opening motif to strains of ecstatic joy.

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