Andris Nelsons, conductor; Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
ernstein has four characters search for faith in a New York City bar while Shostakovich’s symphony flirts with danger. W. H. Auden’s poem “The Age of Anxiety,” an eclogue on man’s spiritual quest, inspired the pulsing jazz piano and vivid orchestral colors of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2. Echoes of Mahler are evident in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, especially the emotional arc of its finale. The composer cancelled the symphony’s 1936 premiere knowing its unorthodox style ran against Soviet cultural policy—a mistake that could have cost him his freedom or more.