Alexander Mickelthwate Natasha Paremski
July 20 is the date that both George Gershwin and Dmitri Shostakovich were featured on the cover of TIME magazine — albeit 17 years apart: Gershwin in 1925 and Shostakovich in 1942. Both were leading composers of the 20th century and at first glance seem unlikely to have much in common. One of the eternal legends of American music Gershwin wrote and published with incredible speed some of the most popular music ever written in America and it made him the highest income earning composer of all time. Shostakovich wrote prolifically and across nearly every musical genre but under enormous pressures of Soviet government imposed standards of art, the criticisms often life and career threatening; his works serious, brooding, often sarcastic and utilizing complex 20th century modernist techniques. He was to become however the undisputed head of Russian music. Gershwin cultivated a desire throughout his career to create art music and Shostakovich began his musical life absorbed in popular theatre, film and vaudeville. On Saturday, April 6th the OKC Philharmonic and music director Alexander Mickelthwate offered Classics 6, the program titled "Fantastic Contrasts" and featured Gershwin’s two rhapsodies for piano and orchestra with guest pianist Natasha Paremski, and by Shostakovich, the Jazz Suite No. 1 and his reflective and dramatic Lenin symphony, Symphony No. 12 in d minor, Op 112, "The Year of 1917."
This program airs Saturday, May 3rd, 8pm on Classical 88.7 HD-1.