The openings of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 could not be more dissimilar. Written just before Stalin’s death, Shostakovich’s concerto opens with the low strings brooding with tones that barely suggest a melody. Elsewhere in the concerto, Shostakovich spells out his own name in musical notation using German transliteration. The pitches D-E-flat-C-B (or, DSCH) cry out with sarcasm and fierce wit. This is a titanic concerto for violinists, and superstar Rachell Wong will hold you spellbound with her virtuosity and sensitivity.
Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony erupts with a fanfare for brass that is moody like Shostakovich’s concerto. As the symphony unfolds, however, gaiety and excitement hold court. Perhaps his most famous symphony, Tchaikovsky’s spectacular Fourth will end BSO’s 2017-2018 Season with a flourish.