Statement Dining | November 13, 2015 | Lifestyle
Classical music choices to give your dinner guests something to talk about
Rock n roll may win all the headlines for decadence but the classical world has always attracted an equally fair share of rebels, nonconformists and groundbreakers.
A truly decadent classical playlist may not always melt into the background quite as softly as more pastoral pieces, but if you do your research, it will definitely be a conversation starter.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 3 in F major, op. 73 (1946)
Living in 20th century Soviet Union, Shostakovich was unable to openly write the protest music he wanted to regarding the mistreatment of his countrymen by the government.
However, he slipped his feelings into his music as much as he dared, lending bitterness and sarcasm to the pieces.
Sergei Prokofiev – First String Concerto op. 50 (1930)
Along with Shostakovich, Prokofiev was accused of decadent formalism by the Russian authorities. This, in effect, meant an accusation of being influenced by the west – Prokofiev was forced to compose a series of conformist works in the late 1930s.
Aram Khachaturian – Spartacus (1954)
Armenian-born Khachaturian also fell foul of the Russian establishment and was compelled to write music to please the state. His 1954 ballet, Spartacus, is easy on the ear and you might recognise it from 1970s drama The Onedin Line.
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suite no. 1 Prelude
Bach makes his way onto the bad boy list due to his short spell in prison. He didn’t so much commit a crime as annoy his powerful boss but he did, nevertheless, do time. We chose the cello suite no. 1 for the sheer simplicity of the instrument.
Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 2 in D Major Op. 43 (1902)
Closely linked with Finnish independence (those Russians again, but in an earlier incarnation), Sibelius’s second symphony remains his most popular. It was seen as heroic and optimistic – just what the Finns needed at the time. It confirmed his position as a national treasure.