Accompanying Sol Gabetta in Shostakovich’s poignant Concerto No.2, are two scores reflecting the influence of jazz, including Walton’s impressive Belshazzar’s Feast on a theme drawn from the Book of Daniel.
Shostakovich’s vibrant Suite for Jazz Orchestra No.2, a long-lost commissioned piece that was rediscovered in 1999, reflects the composer’s curiosity and the fascinating attempt to acclimatise jazz to Soviet Russia.
The late Concerto No.2, premiered in 1966 by Rostropovich, is remarkable for its meditative interiority, in stark contrast to the moments of restrained tension and extreme violence.
Walton’s most famous work Belshazzar’s Feast is a cantata on a biblical theme, that of the liberation of the Hebrew people after the sacrilege of the Babylonian king Balthazar. Richly orchestrated and intensely rhythmic, filled with acoustic and theatrical effects, the work is divided into ten sections, some of which reflect the composer’s love of jazz and popular music.