Daniil Trifonov, Andris Nelsons and the BSO
"Nelsons was able to express both the innocence and the foreshadowing of experience Shostakovich weaves through the first movement by simply allowing the music the space to speak for itself."
“Nelsons was able to express both the innocence and the foreshadowing of experience Shostakovich weaves through the first movement by simply allowing the music the space to speak for itself. The next movement began dark and heavy; childhood dreams were dead. A somber, soulful lamentation with the solo cello, then the trombone, as chief mourners, built to a lacerating funeral march for full orchestra before gradually fragmenting and fading to a barely perceptible roll of the timpani. Nelsons didn’t over-dramatize the muted mockery and derision of the brief second Allegretto.
Quotations from Wagner’s Ring and Tristan serve a similar thematic role to the Rossini references in a final movement that mirrors the first. Here they introduce ideas of fate and yearning to a mapping of the inevitable deterioration and fragmentation of the second childhood of old age. Nelsons tracked a slow but inexorable decline taking approximately 17 minutes. The Wagner quotes were hallucinatory and the dance episodes seemed to unfold through a medicated haze. The theme from Shostakovich’s Seventh tolled like a death knell. Fragmented memories of the first movement’s flute motif and other themes randomly sounded in the background until the percussion of the toyshop returned drained of color and vitality, mechanically clicking, clacking and pinging until what sounds like a phone ringing twice ends it all and the symphony concludes as it began, with a chime.
Nelsons held the silence for nearly 30 seconds, an apt gesture for a symphony in which the composer seems to question what meaning music might have when all is fated to end in silence.”