Event details

  • Monday | 13th October, 2014
  • 08:00 PM - 07:00 PM
  • First Presbyterian Church
    540 William Hilton Parkway
    Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
  • 843-842-2055
  • John Morris Russell

    Steven Lin


Shostakovich’s Soviet trauma reveals the reality of Voltaire’s Utopian fantasy.

Bernstein Candide Overture
Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1
Shostakovich Symphony No. 5


Leonard Bernstein
Overture to Candide
During the McCarthy era of the early 1950s, Leonard Bernstein and playwright Lillian Hellman decided to use Voltaire’s satirical novel Candide as a vehicle to make a political statement. According to Hellman, the novel attacks “all rigid thinking…all isms.” Bernstein thought that the charges made by Voltaire against his own society’s puritanical snobbery, phony morality and inquisitorial attacks on the individual were the same as those that beset American society – especially creative artists in all media.

Franz Liszt
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major
Franz Liszt was a man of paradoxes and extremes who could only have flourished in the Romantic period. He was both superficial showman and a contemplative artist, mystic and hedonist, genius and poseur, saint and sinner. He broke many a commandment and many a heart, exhibiting incredible flamboyance in his virtuoso piano performances before adoring audiences, yet longing for a life of religious asceticism. He fathered numerous illegitimate offspring but ended up taking minor orders in the Catholic Church with the right to the title Abbé Liszt. He witnessed first-hand the cultural and musical transformation of Europe but unfortunately never wrote his life’s memoirs, being “too busy living it.

Dmitry Shostakovich
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47
Volumes have been written about Dmitry Shostakovich and his ambivalent relationship with the Soviet regime. Much of this writing is based on after-the-fact statements whose authenticity and veracity is often difficult to verify. What is clear is that the composer was a true son of the Russian Revolution and, as teenager, a true believer. But in his late 20s he became caught up in the Stalinist nightmare.