Shostakovich 13; A Coronavirus Future

March 12, 2020, 10:48 PM · Just a quick UI Symphony concert review - tonight, I went to my last public gathering of the foreseeable future. After the strings played Vaughan-Williams' beautiful Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, the music after the intermission turned exclusively to Shostakovich 13, for orchestra, male choir, and bass soloist. The work is a grim one, sure, but with everything going on right now with the coronavirus, it really resonated with me - especially all the terrifying full, brash, and loud orchestral moments throughout the score, with big tam-tam hits and rolling bass drums. The "Fear" fourth movement really struck close to home. However, the end of the fifth movement had the strings, celesta, and harp spinning a tune in B-flat major as a light at the end of the tunnel, just as the flutes had opened it with - perhaps there is hope for us after all. It was these contrasts of dark, gritty, intense music with the softer, mournful, or even hopeful, that these musicians pulled off so wonderfully, and made for a compelling performance of the piece.

And so, for now, that was it. I'm not sure when I'll be able to attend another live performance, especially having been around so much music and going to see something almost every week. UIUC is, like many schools and workplaces, is moving everything online. As I prepare to work all of that out, I realize I can take advantage of this time being at home with my family (just as I had been in high school, now that I truly think about it...) able to have more time to compose, yes, but also truly get back into practicing the violin and piano. I suppose I'm not sure if composition recitals I was hoping to premiere my Duo on are still happening - everything's up in the air at the moment. At least from the comfort of my home, I can still make music, and listen to all kinds of pieces on YouTube. That's the power of the Internet, and we are lucky to have access to it.

Please, stay safe, be well, and continue bringing a smile to others' (and your own) faces with the joy of music-making.


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