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“When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.”


Dmitri Shostakovich

around shostakovich

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 20:15

The Hague: Paleiskerk

caught in a formula

Ensemble De Formule:

Laura Lunansky violin

Floor Le Coultre violin

Sofie van der Schalie viola

Rogier Tamminga cello

Rik Kuppen piano

Kenza Koutchoukali
stage director

Vera Selhorst costumes and design



Sergei Prokofiev
Visions fugitives for piano

Dmitri Shostakovich
Piano quintet in g minor, opus 57 (staged performance)

Double meanings

Shostakovich was more than once in collision with the Soviet regime. Nonetheless, in 1941 he received the Stalin Prize for his Piano Quintet. A questionable honour. How could this piece have been so highly valued by the same authorities, who had dismissed his opera Lady Macbeth as “chaos instead of music”? In the theatrical performance Caught in a Formula, the musicians of De Formule and director Kenza Koutchoukali delve into the hidden drama in Shostakovich’s music. They search for double meanings and wonder how free we are today to tell our own stories.


In Russia before Stalin’s coup, there was more artistic freedom. In the 1910s and 20s, musical life was in full swing. Composers were able to engage in exciting experiments. A driving force behind the musical innovations was Sergei Prokofiev. In 1917 he completed his piano cycle Visions fugitives, in which he translated the symbolist poems of Konstantin Balmont into music. Visions fugitives continues to fascinate listeners because of its elusive beauty.

Order tickets : € 10,00 – € 27,50

The Hague: Paleiskerk

The trailer of Caught in a Formula

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