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Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Back in the USSR is coming to Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday 26th January for a night of magical music.

Prokofiev worked on his Second Violin Concerto at the same time as Romeo & Juliet and the two works have much in common, particularly an ardent and voluptuous lyricism. It begins with unaccompanied solo violin, as if Prokofiev wished to establish from the outset the pre-eminence of melody and a new simplicity of language.

It brims with extraordinary, if sometimes spare, instrumental combinations and effects as in the energetic finale where the solo violin, bounding about in wide-ranging broken-chord passages, is accompanied by just bass drum and double basses.

The second of Shostakovich’s wartime symphonies, the Eighth was criticized as being too pessimistic at a time when Stalin was insisting that Soviet victory was in sight. It does contain possibly the most terrifying music Shostakovich ever wrote, yet he tried to persuade listeners otherwise, describing it as “an optimistic, life-asserting work… all that is dark and evil will rot away, and beauty will triumph.” Perhaps the final flute solo does at least suggest that the lone hero has survived.

See Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Back in the USSR at Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday 26th January at 7:00pm. Tickets start from £16.

Book your tickets on the Guildhall website »

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