Viv McLean seemed exceptional to me; he astonished us with his musical maturity and extraordinary sonority.

Le Monde on Ballet Classics 2 Afternoon Concert

Music and drama performance presented in association with Sheffield Theatres

 with ENSEMBLE 360, SARA KESTELMAN actor and the voice of SIMON RUSSELL BEALE, actor, as the USSR All-Union Radio newsreader

PROKOFIEV Overture on Hebrew Themes Op.34
WEINBERG  ‘Aria’ Op.9
GLIÈRE Romances Op.35
MYASKOVSKY Cello Sonata No.2 in A Op.81, Finale
TSINTSADZE  ‘Spring’ from 12 Miniatures for string quartet on Georgian Folk Songs
KHACHATURIAN Clarinet Trio
SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No.7 in F sharp minor Op.108 

This Saturday night, the Studio Theatre will be dressed to resemble a concert hall in Moscow sometime in the 1940s. There are three alternating players in the drama that unfolds: the vicious diatribes of the totalitarian state taken from original Soviet broadcasts and editorials, the brave words of poet Anna Akhmatova and the powerful music of great composers.

Even in this age of unprecedented artistic pressure, the musical sequence presents a varied emotional range: dignity and beauty in the reflective works of Weinberg and Tsintsadze, visceral power in the outpourings of Myaskovsky and Shostakovich, and a dash of humour in the music of Prokofiev.

On 1st December 1934, a young man called Leonid Nikolaev walked into the Smolny in Leningrad and shot Sergey Kirov, the most important Communist in Russia after Joseph Stalin. As the Great Terror began, music was placed right in the firing line. In a state that sought to control every aspect of its citizens’ lives, any perceived offence could – and did – lead to arrest, deportation to Siberia or execution.

 'I lived through '37, when night after night every person in Moscow feared his arrest. You can't imagine what we went through, listening for the fatal knock on the door.' David Oistrakh, violinist

 Pre-concert talk

Professor Marina Frolova-Walker, from the University of Cambridge, presents a portrait of music in Stalin’s state and reflects on the story of the Stalin Prize.

Free to all concert ticket holders

Experience thrilling live music by the world’s greatest Russian composers, performed up close in the Crucible Studio this May. See the full festival diary here.

Don’t know where to start? Listen to the festival highlights playlist or come along to a Russia in the Round ‘taster’ concert on 11 March.

Running time: About 55 minutes
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Sheffield Theatres is the largest theatre complex outside London. Across our three auditoria: the Crucible, the Lyceum and the Crucible Studio, we offer a huge variety of home-grown and touring productions, as well as a thriving programme of participatory events and activities.