The series For Megalomaniacs will reach the peak of its crescendo on Friday, 3 June (Kolarac, 8pm) with Russian music conducted by experienced Maestro Daniel Raiskin. In addition to Modest Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death, the programme will also include Dmitri Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony, the most magnificent piece of symphonic literature, after it has not been performed in Belgrade for a long time.

A hundred and four musicians will be elbowing for a spot on the Kolarac stage to perform the masterpiece of visual and auditory grandeur, with duration of more than an hour. Composed during the German siege of Leningrad in the Second World War, the symphony tells a great story about the fate of the city and its citizens. Besides having been born in this city, conductor Daniel Raiskin feels a special connection with the Leningrad Symphony, since his father, a renowned musicologist, attended its premiere as a child in 1941, in Kuybyshev, where most of the major cultural institutions were moved from Moscow:

“Seventy-five years later, I am standing in front of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra and conducting Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, which my father had listened at its premiere as a six-year-old boy, performed by the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra. He would later attend the premieres of all other Shostakovich’s symphonies, but the Leningrad Symphony left an indelible impression on him”, Raiskin remembers and says: “I deeply connect with this music, whose sound bears such immense physical power that it walks on the edge of actual pain. It is not so much a symbol of victory over Nazism as it is of the superiority of spirit over the unscrupulousness of the force”.

The concert for megalomaniacs will be opened with a song series by Mussorgsky, in which death is the underlying theme. One of today’s most important interprets of the great Russian bass roles, Taras Shtonda will depict the theme of death through a series of songs ranging from the most lyrical to the most dramatic one – death of a child, death in youthful love ecstasy, drunken death and death at battleground.

In the five concerts of the series For Megalomaniacs, our audience has experienced excessively large instrumental ensembles, musical forms and styles, themes and lengths. For all those for whom not even too much music is enough, the programme of the final concert is grandiose in every sense of the word and it is the right choice for the megalomaniac finale.