Orchestra Iowa’s 2011-2012 season concludes with a program featuring the music of Dvořák, Bartok and Shostakovich. Dvořák’s Slavic Dance No. 8 is from a series of pieces inspired by Brahms’ Hungarian Dances. Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is truly a piece that is meant to be heard live, as the strings are divided into two groups and placed antiphonally on opposite sides of the stage. Following a series of works denounced by the Communist Party, Shostakovich delivered a rousing symphony that not only pleased critics, but audiences too. What on the surface seemed to celebrate Stalin’s regime may have in fact contained hidden messages protesting the very system it seemed to support.
(Concert recorded May 12-13, 2012)