Composed in a city under siege, smuggled through enemy lines and blasted through loudspeakers at the Nazi forces, Shostakovich’s Seventh isn’t just one of the great symphonic blockbusters – it practically changed the course of modern history. This is music from the front line, written for massed battalions of musicians, and when it was performed in wartime New York, it made Shostakovich a household name. With Juanjo Mena conducting a specially-reinforced BBC Philharmonic, this will be one of the highlights of our season.
Bela Bartók – in exile in New York – heard that famous broadcast before writing his Third Piano Concerto. It’s both peppery and deeply poetic, and with the inimitable Dejan Lazić as soloist, it’ll launch the Leningrad in a burst of sheer energy.
Preview, 6.30pm: Students and invited guests join host Michael Symmons Roberts to debate the politics of Bernstein, Shostakovich and Bartók and how this influenced their music.