Critic’s Choice

January 31, 2018 at 3:35 pm

By Aaron Keebaugh

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Towards the end of his life, Dmitri Shostakovich became increasingly drawn into dark subject matter. After he orchestrated Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death in 1962, he began imagining a work that mused upon ideas of unjust and untimely death.

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14 was the result. Its eleven movements, scored for string orchestra, percussion, and soprano and bass soloists, set poems by Garcia Lorca, Apollinaire, Küchelbecker, and Rilke through intensely chromatic and death-haunted music.

This week, Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in this most unusual of Shostakovich’s symphonies. Soprano Kristine Opolais and bass Alexander Tsymbalyuk will be the soloists. Mozart’s Gran Partita will make up the first half of the program.

Performances will take place 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Symphony Hall. bso.org; 888-266-1200

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