French-Chinese composer Qigang Chen’s music builds bridges between East and West while Shostakovich’s music is fundamentally Russian, from his Symphony No. 5 to his Second Cello Concerto. Under the baton of Tugan Sokhiev, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse launches into a musical study in contrasts and concordances with virtuoso cellist Edgar Moreau at their sides.
Opening the program is Qigang Chen’s Itinéraire d'une illusion, an exciting new composition co-commissioned by the China Centre for the Performing Arts, the Philharmonie Zuidnederland, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, and the Philharmonie de Paris. A French composer of Chinese origins, Qigang Chen’s music shows both the influence of his teacher Messiaen and the sounds of the traditional instruments of his native land.
The second half of the program is devoted to the great expressive force that is the music of Shostakovich. French cellist Edgar Moreau performs the Cello Concerto No. 2, originally premiered in 1966 by Rostropovich himself. The evening culminates with the 1937 Symphony No. 5, a work shaped by the strict constraints of Soviet Russia on art—concepts like “intelligibility” and “clarity” were prioritized above all else—yet remains one of the composer’s most powerful works.
Photo: © Julien Mignot
Philippe Calvario (stage director), Tugan Sokhiev (conductor)