The fiery Shostakovich

Shostakovich wrote his Eighth Symphony as World War II was turning decisively in the Allies’ favor, and there are stories of him contentedly pitching hay and cradling a piglet in the breaks he took from composing. Inside, though, he mourned the vicious slaughter of his fellow Russians in Stalin’s reign of terror, and feared “this horrible extermination machine” would re-intensify when the war was over. The Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko has a special reputation for Shostakovich, and his Eighth with the Minnesota Orchestra, paired with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1, should be one of the most combustible symphonic experiences of the season. (11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri., 6 p.m. Sat., Orchestra Hall, Mpls. $29-$96, 612-371-5656 or


Scintillating parallel octaves, bitonal clashes, scorching tremolos and arpeggios — Stravinsky’s “Three Movements From Petrushka” runs virtually the full gamut of what is technically possible to play on a modern piano. Originally adapted from his famous puppet-ballet for the fiery young Arthur Rubinstein to play, “Three Movements” anchors the final recital in this year’s Frederic Chopin Society series, in which the brilliant Israeli pianist Roman Rabinovich also will play works by Haydn, Beethoven and Schumann. (3 p.m. Sun., Mairs Concert Hall, Macalester College, St. Paul; $15-$25,, 612-822-0123)


Louise Farrenc was both a composer and a mother, a difficult balancing act in the 19th century, when gender stereotyping was stiflingly rigid. Farrenc’s achievements are celebrated in a Mother’s Day concert where the Musical Offering will play her Piano Trio, with Germaine Tailleferre’s Sonate Champêtre and Jean Françaix’s String Trio. (3 p.m. Sun., Sundin Music Hall, Hamline University, St. Paul. $10-$25.


Animals in music — now there’s an interesting quiz topic. Tick the species off one-by-one in “A Musical Bestiary,” a zoologically-minded concert presented by the Lakes Area Music Festival including Haydn’s “Lark” Quartet, the “Trout” Quintet of Schubert, and assorted specimens from Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals.” (7 p.m. Thu., University Club, St. Paul; 7 p.m. Sun., Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa, Minn. Free but reservations requested,


Former Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis and her husband Michael Steinberg used to read C.P. Cavafy’s poem “Ithaka” at poetry recitals, and it provides the basis for a new work in Steinberg’s memory by composer Justin Merritt. She’ll premiere the piece with David Pharris on clarinet, Tony Ross on cello, Karl Paulnack on piano and Stephen Yoakam as narrator. The recital also features Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. (4 p.m. Sun., MacPhail Center, Mpls. $10-$25. 1-800-838-3006)

Terry Blain