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Voices Unwrapped: de Profundis

Mahler Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
Britten Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge
Shostakovich Symphony No. 14 in G minor

Elizabeth Atherton soprano
Peter Rose bass
Aurora Orchestra
Nicholas Collon conductor

Sun 11 December 2022, 5pm
Hall One, Kings Place
£19.50-£44.50 (plus £3 booking fee)


“Life is man’s dearest possession… My symphony is an impassioned protest against death, a reminder to the living that they should live honestly, conscientiously, nobly, never committing a base act.” ⁠— Shostakovich

Inspired by Mussorgsky’s Songs of Dances and Death, Shostakovich saw his searing Symphony No. 14 as the summation of his musical career, an impassioned response to what he saw as the misguided romanticising of death in European culture. Completed in 1969 as the composer wrestled with the effects of the polio that would eventually kill him, the piece is at once a searingly powerful meditation on death and a dramatic call to recognise the precious value of human life. Scored as a song cycle for two soloists and chamber orchestra of percussion and strings, it combines texts by four poets who themselves each died young: Lorca, Rilke, Apollinaire and Küchelbecker.

Shostakovich dedicated his 14th symphony to Benjamin Britten, who conducted the UK premiere of the work at Snape Maltings in 1970. For this programme the symphony is paired with one of Britten’s most enduringly popular works for string orchestra, the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, and the exquisite Adagietto from Mahler’s fifth symphony.

Soloists Elizabeth Atherton and Peter Rose join Aurora under Nicholas Collon for what promises to be an unforgettable highlight of the Voices Unwrapped series.