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Meadows School of the Arts
Meadows Symphony Orchestra

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Caruth Auditorium – Owen Arts Center
6101 Bishop Blvd
Dallas, Texas 75205

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$17 for adults; $13 for seniors; $11 for students, faculty and staff


Prokofiev - Lieutenant Kijé, op.60: Suite (1934)

Shostakovich - Symphony No.15, op.141, A major (1971)

 

The thread between these pieces, aside from the fact that Shostakovich and Prokofiev were the USSR’s two most famous composers, is their biting sense of humor. In Prokofiev, humor is obvious; the music was written to accompany a comedic film. In Shostakovich, the humor is more complex; humor is not always the primary emotion. When Shostakovich jokes, there is a sad, wistful mood underneath.

 

Originally written as a film score, Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kije is a biting satire of bureaucracy and the military. The film and Suite follow the non-existent Lieutenant Kijé, who was accidentally entered into the rolls of a military company. To prevent potential embarrassment, a Kijé is invented. The film then chronicles Kije’s arrival, marriage and burial.

 

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 is his final symphony, and one of his most enigmatic works. It is full of quotations, from Rossini's Overture to William Tell to Wagner’s Ring Cycle to Shostakovich’s own works. The meaning of this symphony is impossible to pin down. Is Shostakovich being playful, serious, or both? Is he mocking himself or the listener? Shostakovich was famously tight-lipped concerning his compositions; a tendency born out of self-preservation. Due to his allusiveness, the listener must make up their own mind.

 

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