The Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra needs not already propulsion to better congruence or brighter rhythmic accuracy. In Symphony No11 by Shostakovich, Fedoseyev was therefore able to focus almost entirely on the psychological side, that of nightmare and terror.
Collective nightmare. From the very beginning of the symphony (at the “square in front of the palace”), the ensemble captured the threatening depressing mood, bringing a kind of vertigo on the listener. Fedoseyev masterly builds the dramatic material. You do not see the nightmare, but you feel it coming. As in Hitchcock’s best scenes, you apprehend the horror lies doggo around the corner. The composer is not only presenting the violent dispersal of a peaceful demonstration by Nicholas II’s army, but also, very commonly for his symphonies, the collective fear, nightmare, exposure. Fedoseyev conveys this fear without superfluous emotion and, importantly, without trivial preaching. A number of the orchestra players contributed especially to the general picture. This applies, first of all, to the kettle-drummer who advanced the bloody battle with his strong rhythms and motives (even adding some expressive facial gestures). I would also single out the phalanx of ten bass viols. The concert organised by Migro-Klubhaus turned into a real symphonic battle and left the public fairly dispirited but wholly stunned.
The Symphony of Shostakovich was preceded by one more exquisite piece. While Symphony No11 batters the collective fate and social repression, Sergei Prokofiev’s suite “Romeo and Juliet” is a drama of two individuals defeated by the compulsory prejudices of their epoch.
Psychological insight. Fedoseyev approached these seven scenes rather calmly, focusing, so to speak, on sutural joints and transitions abounding in the score. This music is often played in a wooden lifeless form but Fedoseyev was savouring the drama in full self-oblivion and contemplation. He released the particular psychological insight of the suite, painful and absorbing. At the same time, Fedoseyev remained conscious throughout of the conductor’s magic power. Prokofiev and Shostakovich confronted, Prokofiev appeared in this interpretation objectively distant, whereas Shostakovich seemed to present the suffering of his nation as his own.

Martin Preisser. Tagblatt, St. Gallen, Switzerland


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