Czech Philharmonic
Opening Concert of 124th season

Czech Philharmonic

The ceremonial opening of the season will begin in the spirit of opera, commemorating the great works of Bedřich Smetana and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, but the focal point of the programme will be Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony. For Dmitri Shostakovich, who was constantly criticised by the Soviet regime for a lack of optimism, the Second World War amounted to a certain kind of artistic refuge: “Then the war came, and sorrow became something usual. We were able to speak about it, to weep openly for those whom we had lost. People ceased to be afraid of tears. Before the war, there was perhaps not a single family that had not lost someone – a father, brother, or dear friend. Everyone had someone to weep for, but they had to do so quietly, under their blankets, where no one could see them. Everybody was afraid of everybody else, and we were oppressed and smothered by sorrow. I, too, was suffocating. I had to write about it. I had to write a Requiem for all those who had died, who had suffered. I had to describe the terrible machinery of extermination and protest against it. The Seventh Symphony and Eighth Symphony are my Requiem. I feel boundless sorrow for those who were killed by Hitler, but my sorrow is no less great for those killed at Stalin’s orders. I suffer for everyone who was tortured, shot, or starved to death. There had been millions of these victims before the war with Hitler even began. The war brought many new sorrows and new devastation, but at the same time I did not forget about the horrors of the pre-war years. That is what my symphonies are about, including the Eighth.”

Subscription series LS
Duration of concert 2 hod
Rudolfinum — Dvorak Hall


Česká republika Praha 1 Alšovo nábřeží 12 110 00
Wed 4 Sep 2019 / 7.30pm
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Thu 5 Sep 2019 / 7.30pm
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