Alexander Malofeev

Alexander Malofeev
Alexander Malofeev, pianist (b. 2001, Moscow). Photo by Liudmila Malofeeva

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.10 in E minor – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Klaus Mäkelä (HD 1080p)

Conductor Klaus Mäkelä, 21 years old showed in his début with the Gothenburg Symphony that he is a force to be reckoned with: "Mäkelä really highlights the different accents, the very contrast between emotional performance and sincerity", wrote Göteborgs Posten in their review.

With his feel for the overall perspective and his interest in Russian music, he was made to take on Dmitri Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony, a fascinating and powerful grotesque, containing as many windthrows as it does breathtaking vistas.

The concert was recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall on January 19, 2018.

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

♪ Symphony No.10 in E minor, Op.93 (1953)

i. Moderato
ii. Allegro
iii. Allegretto
iv. Andante – Allegro

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Klaus Mäkelä

Gothenburg Concert Hall, January 19, 2018

(HD 1080p)

Symphony No.10 was Shostakovich's first symphony in eight years, and the gap between this and the 1945 Ninth owed nothing to a lack of inspiration in the genre. In 1948, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Khachaturian, and other noted Soviet composers were censured for writing what party censors called "formalistic" music, a code word for dissonance and the expression of negative emotions or cynicism. Of course, examined against such vague and, therefore, potentially all-inclusive standards, virtually any composition could be vulnerable to attack, and many of Shostakovich's were singled out. After January 1948, most Soviet composers were simply unsure of what was safe to write. Shostakovich turned to writing patriotic bombast like the choral work Song of the Forests (1949), the cantata The Sun Shines on Our Motherland (1952), as well as vapid film scores like that for the 1950 release The Fall of Berlin.

On March 5, 1953, Stalin died. The stringent policies in the arts loosened somewhat in the aftermath of the dictator's passing, and Shostakovich seized the opportunity to write a large symphony, not least because he could satirize Stalin in it. In fact, the second movement is said to be a depiction of the Soviet tyrant. The music in this Allegro is angry and intense, but also quite Russian. Certainly, it can be heard as austere and hostile, sinister and threatening, thereby painting an effective and credible portrait of Stalin, but it might also express anxiety and fear, emotions hardly new to Shostakovich. Thus, the "Stalin" interpretation of this movement, while quite possibly valid, is not fully convincing, much less verifiable.

The Symphony No.10 opens up with a Moderato movement that is nearly as long as the ensuing three movements combined. The mood is dark and brooding and the structure is not unlike that of the Eighth's opening section: there is an introductory theme, followed by two "main" themes. Here, the second of those is faster than its counterpart in the Eighth, and while the atmosphere is intense in the exposition and development section, there is a relaxation in intensity in the recapitulation and coda, where the Eighth remains mired in darkness.

As suggested above, the second movement is a biting, sinister piece. It is followed by an Allegretto of decidedly Russian character, whose mood brightens somewhat, especially in the middle section. This movement is notable because it is the first time that Shostakovich used his personal motto, D-E flat-C-B, which, via German transliteration, represents his initials, DSCH. This motif would appear in numerous subsequent works by the composer, like the Violin Concerto No.1 (1947-1948; rev. 1955) and his popular String Quartet No.8 (1961).

The finale starts off with an Andante that seems mired in a slow-motion haze. Suddenly the mood turns joyous and playful, lively and colorful. An austere middle section recalls the opening gloom, but the cheerful music returns and the Symphony ends in a blaze of ecstatic joy. The Symphony No.10 was premiered in Leningrad on December 17, 1953, under the baton of Yevgeny Mravinsky. It has become, with the Symphony No.5, Shostakovich's most often performed and recorded symphony.

Source: Robert Cummings (

Born in 1996, conductor and cellist Klaus Mäkelä has already made a significant impact on the Finnish musical landscape.

Still in his early twenties, conductor and cellist Klaus Mäkelä has already made a significant impact on the Finnish musical landscape and the 2017-2018 season will see him make important debuts across Europe, Scandinavia, the United States, Canada and Japan. From the 2018-2019 season, Mäkelä will be Principal Guest Conductor with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Artist in Association with Tapiola Sinfonietta.

This season Mäkelä debuts with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa), Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Lahti, Norrköping, Iceland and Kristiansand Symphony orchestras, Kammerakademie Potsdam (where he will also lead from the cello), and Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. He will also return to Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki, Turku and Tampere Philharmonic orchestras and Tapiola Sinfonietta.

Also working in opera, Mäkelä will make his debut in December 2017 with performances of The Magic Flute with the Finnish National Opera.

Mäkelä has already conducted many Finnish orchestras and now appears regularly with Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tampere and Turku Philharmonics, Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra.

At the Sibelius Academy, he studied conducting with Jorma Panula and cello with Marko Ylönen, Timo Hanhinen and Hannu Kiiski. As soloist, he has performed with Finnish orchestras such as the Lahti Symphony, Kuopio Symphony and Jyväskylä Sinfonia as well as appearing at many Finnish festivals including the Kuhmo Chamber Music, Naantali Music Festival, and Chamber Music Summer Festival in Helsinki.

Klaus Mäkelä has received support from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben, Pro Musica Foundation, Wegelius Foundation, Jorma Panula Foundation and Sibelius Academy Foundation.

Klaus Mäkelä plays a Giovanni Grancino cello from 1698, kindly made available to him by the OP Art Foundation.

A high level of performance, led by Klaus Mäkelä, glowed with colour... Young Mäkelä delivered a masterpiece  as an opera conductor. — Helsingin Sanomat, May 2017

Oulu Symphony Orchestra  seemed obviously liberated by the Mäkelä's energy, particularly in Beethoven's Symphony No.7 Op.92 in which the jubilation could be sensed throughout the whole hall. — Kaleva newspaper, January 2017

Our country's music education system has produced a number of internationally successful conductors. The latest addition is 20-year-old Klaus Mäkelä. With a bright talent and determination he captured the audience of the Kymi Sinfonietta concert. His bold movements encouraged the Orchestra to play with real feeling. — Kymen Sanomat, October 2016

Mäkelä conducted gloriously – self confident and powerful, but at the same time graceful and controlled. — Rondo Classic, March 2016

The young Klaus Mäkelä is a great conducting talent. His debut with Tapiola Sinfonietta showed that in front of the orchestra he has a natural authority. His musical abilities are so strong that it's easy for him to gain the trust of the musicians. In Tchaikovsky's Mozartiana and Arensky's Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, he demonstrated his fine sense of phrasing, sound, rhythm and nuance. — Helsingin Sanomat, January 2016

Klaus Mäkelä is an extraordinary talent, who will go far. He manages to channel his musical expression in a constructive way. — Huvudstadsbladet, January 2016

You can already now say that Klaus Mäkela is a true conductor. — Turun Sanomat, March 2015

Gubaidulina's score provided ample opportunity to showcase cellist Klaus Mäkelä's formidable talents: the controlled swells of the opening, the clearly defined rapid pizzicato passages, and the sustained intensity during the broad ascending lines. — Resmusica, July 2014

Klaus Mäkelä, only 18 years old, played Dvořák's Cello Concerto totally sovereignly. — Turun Sanomat, February 2014


More photos

See also

Sergei Rachmaninov: Symphony No.2 in E minor – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Klaus Mäkelä (HD 1080p)

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts

Dmitri Shostakovich – All the posts

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