Sir Simon Rattle conducts Brahms and Shostakovich — With Isabelle Faust

London Symphony Orchestra

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Program notes

Among Brahms aficionados, Isabelle Faust has earned a sterling reputation for her unique interpretation of the Violin Concerto in D, especially in the wake of her "wonderfully proportioned … expressively searching and introspective" (The Guardian) 2011 recording, for which she extensively studied the performance practice of the work's dedicatee, virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim. To our great delight, Faust returns to the concerto—modeled after Beethoven's, but a masterpiece in its own Brahmsian right—alongside one of the world's great orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle.

Sir Simon and the LSO move on then to a work kept hidden for 25 years, perhaps out of fear of state violence: Dmitri Shostakovich's extravagant Fourth Symphony, fiercely modern and Mahlerian in scope. Withdrawn just weeks before its intended premiere in 1936, with the composer facing censure and denunciation, it finally premiered in 1961 and serves as a potent and chilling expression of life under the repressive Stalinist regime in the time of the Great Purge and beyond—not least in the funeral march that begins its final movement.

Photo © LSO / Mark Allan

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