The Sirius Chamber Ensemble focuses on the music of composers who worked under the communist regimes in the former Soviet Union. Their creativity flourished despite the repressive environment in which they lived and despite heavy censorship, fear of deportation or death, composers in this period produced some of the most profound music of the twentieth century.
Dimitri Shostakovich, who was twice denounced by the government, composed his Piano Trio No.2 in E minor, Op. 67, during 1944, reflecting on the bleakness and despair of war and integrated a Jewish melody into the last movement.
Sergei Prokofiev left Russia in 1918, following the Russian Revolution. After years of living in the USA and France, he returned to the Soviet Union in 1936. During and after the Second World War, Prokofiev concentrated on writing propaganda music and chamber music. His Flute Sonata in D, op. 94 (1943) is playful and elegant, but with a darker note of melancholy. The neoclassical structure and harmony are possibly Prokofiev’s attempt to conform to the regime’s cultural policies.
Bohuslav Martinu spent most of his life in exile from his native Czechoslovakia, after it was invaded first by the Nazis, then the Russian Communists. Martinu studied in Paris before fleeing to the USA ahead of the Nazi invasion. He returned to Europe in the 1950s, and composed the Nonet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, violin, viola, cello and double bass in 1959, only a few months before his death.
Performing in the core ensemble are Ian Sykes (clarinet), Alison Evans (bassoon), Melissa Coleman (flute), Julia Zeltzer (french horn), Georgina Price (viola), Clare Kahn (cello) and Claire Howard Race (piano). Joining them for Voices in Exile are guest artists Angus Lindsay (oboe), Martyn Hentschel (violin), Heloise Meisel (violin), Andrew Meisel (bass).
The Sirius Chamber Ensemble’s diverse programme for 2013 includes music from The Americas in August and from Eastern Europe n November.
Dimitri Shostakovich – Piano Trio No.2 in Eminor, opus 67
Sergei Prokofiev – Flute Sonata in D, Op.94
Bohuslav Martinu – Nonet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, french horn, violin, viola, cello and bass.
Tickets: Adult $35 / Concession $25 / Child $15