St James's Church, Sussex Gardens, Paddington, W2 3UD
Oberon Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G (John Paul Ekins)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor
On 26th September 1940, seventy-five years ago to the day of this concert, my great-grandfather, the German philosopher Walter Benjamin, died in his attempt to flee the Nazi fascist regime, for whom he was persona non grata, stripped of his citizenship, on account not only of his Jewishness, but of his publication of Marxist essays. Shostakovich managed to survive the Stalinist regime and maintain his artistic integrity by virtue of the ability of music to say many things at once. This performance of Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony was dedicated to my great-grandfather, and through him to all those who have suffered under regimes of oppression or had to flee their homelands.
'Es ist niemals ein Dokument der Kultur, ohne zugleich ein solches der Barbarei zu sein.'
'There is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.'