John Devlin, conductor
Christylez Bacon, beatbox and rap
Caroline Shaw: Entr’acte
Evan Meier/Christylez Bacon: Migrations in Rhythm: A Concerto for Beatbox and Rhyme
Dmitry Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte is a Haydn-inspired strings-rich piece that will pull you in. It’s what critic James Bennett called “juicy and ebullient…culminating with a succession of full-bellied chords that I may one day make my ringtone.”
Washington DC native and Duke Ellington School for the Arts alum beatboxer Christylez Bacon has created something totally new with this intersection of symphonic and hip hop tradition. You may have seen this Grammy nominee onstage with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. He says, “The music is the lure and the lyric is the education that will destroy the many barriers that prevent us from recognizing our connections with each other.”
Soviet composer Dmitry Shostakovich premiered his fifth symphony in 1937 to overwhelming acclaim, with the audience standing to applaud for more than 40 minutes. This darkly dramatic work is the best one to start with if you’re experiencing Shosty (as musicians have nick-named him) for the first time. A simple internet search will reveal more details of the political turmoil surrounding Shostakovich’s previous compositions and the safety he reclaimed after writing this symphony, so do yourself a favor and dig in to what it was like to be an artist in 1930s Leningrad.