We also had a talk in advance and followed the score. This was really useful. I didn't know the music, and so it was great to talk it through and know what to watch for - interrupted cadences and appoggiaturas!! The Beethoven was beautiful.
Simon and Tim were great performers. Tricky stuff played with such skill and charisma. I loved the flourish at the end of one movement where Tim shot his bow straight up the air. Maybe I might try it!
I really enjoyed the introduction each of them did of the pieces. It added to the performance and painted a picture for us - particularly the Shostakovich piece. At one point, Tim described one the movements as a human heart bleeding in the desolate freezing snow! You can just imagine it!
The music depicted the hard times of a difficult political regime in the Soviet Union. It wasn't very accessible and I'm not completely sure if I liked it. Its hard core classical. But I can appreciate the skill and passion that it was performed with and it was interesting.
I'll listen to it again. But I like some of Shostakvich's music. He sounds an interesting man who had to walk a tighrope all his life - trying to please his political masters - while also being true to his feelings and the suffering of the people. He has written his memoirs, which sound an interesting read. It said that he always carried a toothbrush around with him in case the black cars came to arrest him and he was never heard of again!