Symphony No. 14 (op. 135) by Dmitri Shostakovich

Symphony No. 14, Shostakovich (Cancelled due to Coronavirus)

Stavros Niarchos Hall

Camerata – The Friends of Music Orchestra | In Memoriam Benjamin Britten
Stavros Niarchos Hall, SNFCC, Athens
30th November 2020, 20:30

  • Cantus in Μemoriam Benjamin Britten by Arvo Pärt (born 1935)
  • Symphony No. 14 (op. 135) by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Camerata (Armonia Atenea) – The Friends of Music Orchesta

Markellos Chryssicos

Julia Souglakou (soprano)
Petros Magoulas (bass)


On Monday, November 30, at 20:30, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultiural Center (SNFCC) presents, at the Stavros Niarchos Hall, the musicians of the Camerata – The Friends of Music Orchestra in a exclusive concert conducted by the renowned harpsichord player and maestro Markellos Chryssicos.

The first part will present Cantus in Μemoriam Benjamin Britten by the contemporary Esthonian creator Arvo Pärt (born 1935), which is dedicated to the memory of the great British composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). The piece was written in 1977 as an elegy to mourn the death of the great composer, whom Pärt admired. It is Pärt’s most popular piece, and has been used repeatedly in the soundtrack of movies and documentaries, on account of its evocative cinematic tone.

The concert program continues with one the most emotive symphonic works of the 20th century, the soul-stirring Symphony No. 14 (op. 135) by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975). Soprano Julia Souglakou and bass Petros Magoulas as soloists perform eleven poems by four great poets: Federico García Lorca, Guillaume Apollinaire, Wilhelm Ludwig von Küchelbecker and Rainer Maria Rilke. Their poems, all dealing with death, inspired the composer. This symphony, too, is dedicated to Benjamin Britten, who conducted the orchestra in its premiere in the United Kingdom in 1970.

Symphony No. 14 (op. 135) is a piece against death, a hymn to life and joy and, without a doubt, one of the most original works written by the greatest of the Soviet neo-classicists. It was written in the spring of 1969, at a time when Shostakovich was in hospital in Moscow. It bears the title “symphony” and is indeed a symphonic work, without, however, following the crystalized structure of a classical symphony, but citing, instead, a series of verses set to music. The composer built this colossal structure with melodic models closely reminiscent of the aesthetic and stylistic principles of the twelve-tone technique (which was forbidden by the Soviet regime and by Stalin himself). Through this “symphony”, Shostakovich, sensing the imminent end of his life, finds the courage to stand up against the regime, sending out the message that nothing can stop an artist from singing of the joy of life and the aversion to death.


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