Friday, October 8, 2010

October at Cité de la Musique

October, film-concert, Cité de la Musique, October 7 2010

October: Ten Days That Shook the World 
[Октябрь (Десять дней, которые потрясли мир)] by Sergei Eisenstein

Music by Dmitri Shostakovich
Orchestre National d'Île de France
Dmitry Yablonsky .... conductor

Shostakovich was a freaking genius!

I have a weak point to almost all the 20 century Russian composers but I'm disarmed by whatever is signed by Shostakovich or Prokofiev. The concert was special also because it took place in auditorium of the Cité de la musique, which is humanly sized and with a fantastic acoustics. Plus the lights in that hall are tuned as to put you at ease from the moment you step in la salle. To that add a large screen in the background --as we were to see October, a famous movie by one of the GOAT film directors, Sergei Eisenstein-- and a large Symphonic Orchestra to accompany the movie. 

I a word, the music was liberating! During one of many high dB moments I thought the auditorium would blow out -- it was that big. Orchestre National d'Île-de-France is a fine orchestra, capable to do justice to this music, and the conductor, Dmitry Yablonsky, knew how to give punch to the evening, and a right pace to nbe in sync with what was going on on the screen.

Coming to La Cité I was so tired and only because I promised to a friend I would come I went to see the concert. And then, only 15mins into the concert I felt like miraculously reinvigorated -- to the point that I had hard time falling asleep later on after the concert.  

As for the movie, it was my first time to see this classics and the fact that it was made in 1927, only10 years after the Revolution, strikes you as surreal.  Here is one short YT video of the famous bridge scene:

But still the boiling music in that hall is what makes a huge impression on you... Apart from the Poem Shostakovich wrote for October, there is his Symphony #12 (a.k.a. "1917") with particularly smooth parts that would suddenly turn into strong orchestral shocks that would grow bigger and bigger and bigger... and... 

Thanks to La Cité for organizing this memorable thing! I could only imagine what Concertgebouw with Jansons would make with his score. 

Dmitry Yablonsky

This morning I excavated my fave recording of this Symphony (with Mariss Jansons conducting Bayrische Rundfunks Symphony Orchestra - 2005) to add it to my iPod-Playlist -- in case I'd need something energizing. ;)

On YT I found 4 videos of the concert with Mavrinsky conducting. It's eons from Jansons, in terms of quality, but it's not bad either: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4Enjoy!

This movie/concert is one in the series of events revolving around the theme "Lenin, Stalin, and Music", currently underway at Cité de la Musique in Paris, which also includes an exhibit from  October 12 and till January 16.


  1. Fascinating; thanks for this! I'm an admirer of Eisenstein but haven't seen October (yet.)

  2. Hi Lucy! I'm not into old movies on DVD. It's just too little time and too many books and DVDs on the shelves reminding me how badly organized I am :)

    But in this configuration -- large symphonic orchestra in front of the large screen on which the film is being shown -- it is a whole different experience. They organize it 2-3 times every year at Cité de la Musique and this was my first try and I feel I'm hooked on :)