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Darwin Symphony Orchestra

Wolf Totem
Northern Territory

Best known for his music score to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tan Dun is a composer of great versatility and imagination, equally at home writing for the cinema, concert hall or opera house. The world’s great orchestras have been lining up to perform his music, and now, for the first time, Darwin Symphony Orchestra has the honour. Wolf Totem is an extraordinary piece for solo double bass and orchestra, featuring one of Australia’s leading instrumentalists Stuart Thomson.

'Musicians will like to play it, and critics will delight in blasting it' Shostakovich said of his ninth Symphony – and he was right. The public loved it and the Soviet officials hated it. Less than a year after its 1945 premiere, Soviet critics censured the symphony for its ‘ideological weakness’ and ‘failure to reflect the spirit of the people’. Shostakovich would not premiere another symphony until the death of his oppressor, Stalin, in 1953. Wolf Totem concludes with this Symphony, a highly lyrical and expressive work that still raises questions about its underlying meaning. Is this a work aimed to debunk the ideology and pomp of the Soviet bureaucracy as the critics alleged, or an abstract work, pure and simple, as Shostakovich declared? You decide in this evening of stunning symphonic repertoire under the baton of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Matthew Wood.

Presented by Darwin Symphony Orchestra in association with Darwin Festival