On occasion when the Northern Symphony Orchestra announces a concert it is simply called by the name of the masterpiece that is being performed that evening. This is certainly the case for tomorrow (Saturday) evening when the orchestra performs Symphony no. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich.
This landmark symphony is not only important because of its musical content, but its political undertone, as well. Shostakovich – who was composing during the Stalin regime – came under attack for writing music that was not acceptable to the government standards.
The composer was carefully watched by government officials, putting him in fear for his life and that of his family.
Symphony no. 5 was Shostakovich’s answer to all of this, composing a bit more of a traditional symphony, honoring some of Russia’s greatest composers – and yet creating a work that was full of sarcasm and disdain towards the government. It was an immediate success with Russian concert-goers.
The Northern Symphony Orchestra is joining in performance with a new orchestra to the area, the Lirica Chamber Ensemble under the direction of Emily Pflaum.
This group of musicians is dedicated to performing standard, new and seldom-heard works for string orchestra. The orchestra was formed in 2009 by recent graduates of St. Olaf College and now includes professional freelance musicians, music educators and other members who have continued to keep playing music at a high level as they pursue careers in other areas.
The Lirica Chamber Ensemble will begin the concert with Josef Suk’s “Serenade for Strings in Eb” followed by the Northern Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Grieg’s famous “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1.”
The two orchestras will then join forces for the mighty Symphony no. 5 by Shostakovich.
“This will be a night to remember with our area’s introduction to the fine Lirica Chamber Ensemble, the familiar melodies of Norway’s most famous composer and then unleashing all the powers of the symphony orchestra with the Shostakovich,” Conductor Michael Halstenson said. “We hope you will welcome spring by giving yourself a night out with the symphony.”
Sue Austreng is at