by Daniel Hathaway
Episode 7 of The Cleveland Orchestra’s pre-recorded In Focus series is the shortest so far, clocking in at only 37 minutes. But the emotional impact of Dmitri Shostakovich’s bleak Chamber Symphony in c followed by the calm, shimmering hopefulness of Olivier Messiaen’s Le Christ, lumière du Paradis (from Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà) is out of all proportion to the length of the music.
The Shostakovich is an arrangement by Rudolf Barshai for string orchestra of the composer’s String Quartet No. 8, a work directly inspired by the firebombing of Dresden, an attack toward the end of World War II that claimed more victims than Hiroshima. [Read more…]