But we’ll excuse Shostakovich this symphonic misstep. Change ), Shostakovich Symphony no. Only those with the shortest of musical memories can listen to the rousing choral finale with a sense of triumph and joy. Symphony No. Dmitri Shostakovich’s First Symphony may be the greatest graduation project of all time. 2.The symphony was premiered that October by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Yevgeny Mravinsky.This was the last Shostakovich symphony Mravinsky … But we have to end on a choral finale which “sets a text by Alexander Bezymensky praising Lenin and the revolution.” You can read the text of the finale here. We’ll be seeing more Russian stuff from this period and onward in the coming weeks, so do stay tuned for that, and thanks so much for reading. Some revisions to this score were made, and the final version was played a few weeks later in Moscow. 2 in G Major, Op. Shostakovich’s second symphony, however, (and third, as we shall see) was not only not a roaring success at its premiere, but has continued to be recognized as some of his weakest work in the form. That’s okay, though: there’s the first, symphonies 5-8, the less gargantuan ninth, followed then by the incredible tenth and eleventh… and four more. 2; Prokofiev: Cantata - Mark Elder, BBC Symphony Orchestra on AllMusic - 1996 Stalin’s grip on power was starting to make itself felt. The Fifth Symphony, finished by Shostakovich in 1937, is probably the most frequently performed of his symphonies, and it’s easy to understand why. But for Shostakovich, it need not have been a question of one or the other. Shostakovich: Symphony No. Initially described by the composer as a symphonic poem, the piece was eventually entitled ‘Symphonic Dedication – To October’. It is not obvious whether this embarrassment was musical or political, but in Shostakovich’s case, the two were normally connected. It is daylight, and false. And the Mahlerian string sonorities and Tchaikovsky-like descriptions of fate and death are more old-fashioned influences than contemporary ones. In many people’s minds it represented more an ideal of what the Revolution stood for, rather than the reality of regimented Bolshevik doctrine. Or learn more… Or learn more… Recordings: Bernard Haitink: Royal … I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t strike me as a particularly compelling elevator pitch. 9 in E, op. But to many, the triumph rang hollow. I have multiple times now put on this work while I’m doing other things, and promptly forgot anything was playing and suddenly started hearing strings. 3. Explain that Shostakovich put secret messages and codes into his music as a clever way of avoiding Stalins rules. Shostakovich Symphony No.5 London Symphony Orchestra & Maxim Shostakovich Shostakovich: Symphony No. Possibly because of this, the authorities insisted on the commission concluding with a text by the Komsomol poet Aleksander Bezymensk, straightforward propaganda describing the hopeless conditions faced by workers before the Revolution and the heroism of Lenin in solving all their problems. 2 in B, op. The idea of October was not necessarily the same thing as its reality. What is remarkable about the first three symphonies is not only that they were written before the composer’s 23rd birthday, but that they encapsulate all the musical ideas that were to remain present throughout the composer’s life. His friend and dedicatee of the First Symphony, Mikhail Kvadri, had recently been arrested and shot for ‘counterrevolutionary activity’; the dedication was officially removed from the score. Dmitri Shostakovich, Mstislav Rostropovich, London Symphony Orchestra - Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. But if they seem crude or illogical, that reflects the brutality and ideologically confused spirit of the age. 10 It is possible that within this increasingly fearful climate, Shostakovich decided to set Semyon Kirsanov’s unashamedly proletarian text in order to remain on good terms with the authorities. I am a big fan of Shostakovich, especially the piano works (24 preludes and fugues, piano concertos and piano quintet are all incredible), but this was the latest work of his I had ever heard. ( Log Out / However, his Piano Concerto No.2 is a gloriously free, wistful creation – particularly in the famous second movement, which guarantees the whole work’s enduring popularity. The Soviet Union had discovered its first international star, the first to be trained solely under the new system rather than old imperialist Russia, and the authorities proclaimed him as an exaltation of the new at the expense of the old. He was back in the party’s good graces—for the time being. But this relatively comfortable middle-class childhood would not last long. Doubts and problems. 2 in C-sharp minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 129. 14 and subtitled To October, for the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution.It was first performed by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy Capella Choir under Nikolai Malko, on 5 November 1927.After the premiere, Shostakovich made some revisions to the score, and this final version was first played in Moscow … Stalin had asked for light and boisterous finales. 1 and 2 Christopher Lyndon-Gee, Michael Houstoun & New Zealand Symphony … It was after all, perfectly possible to be in favour of the Revolution yet appalled by the practices of the party that engineered it. The second movement then feels very much like a scherzo. And completing his Symphony No 4 – a big brute of a work – he withdrew the planned Leningrad premiere in '36, after denunciation by the State. If we think about it more like a Strauss tone poem than a Shostakovich symphony, maybe it’ll seem more convincing. 14, ‘To October’, View fugueforthought’s profile on Facebook, View fugueforthought’s profile on Twitter, Lisa Casal-Galietta: A (Red) Door to Classical Music, Follow Fugue for Thought on WordPress.com, Beethoven Piano Sonata no. The composer’s next major work was his Symphony No. Wikipedia explains it thusly, citing Ian MacDonald’s The New Shostakovich: Shostakovich composed his Second in a gestural, geometric “music without emotional structure” manner, with the intent of reflecting speech patterns and physical movements in a neo-realistic style. In time, this much repeated role would become as much a burden to him as it was a saving grace. But…I dunno…there’s something about no.2 that keeps me coming back for more, beginning with the intro, whose very teeming nebulousness marks it out as among the most boldly avant garde music he ever wrote. The unexpected death of his father in 1922 only made matters worse. Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts Shostakovich’s Symphony No. Shostakovich was bitterly attacked in the official press, and both the opera and the still unperformed Symphony No. And here he is: we are this week and next discussing the second and third symphonies of Prokofiev and… Shostakovich. Composed at the age of 18, Shostakovich’s First Symphony was written to fulfill the graduation requirements of the Leningrad Conservatory (earning him the equivalent of a college music degree), and would take the international music world by storm the following year. Even today, people wonder just what Shostakovich was trying to say. The directors of the conservatory were excited by the genius they felt they had nurtured and arranged for the symphony to be performed by Nikolai Malko and the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. But ten years on from the Revolution, ‘October’ had come to mean much more than the specific events of 1917. This choice may have been influenced at least partially by Vsevolod Meyerhold’s theory of biomechanics. The finale reaches a clear climax, cymbal crash and all, but a snare drum made of pure tragedy doesn’t let the piece end. It’s marked largo, and the first real utterance of any kind, out of this jumble of sound, comes from the brass, in the form of more low growls, and eventually a trumpet solo. Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for Shostakovich: … 3 in E flat major, Op. Instead, the final lines are chanted rather than sung: This is the slogan and this is the name of living generations: Fearing for his life, the young composer wrote a symphony ending with a rousing march. 7 "Leningrad" Kurt Masur & New York Philharmonic Shostakovich: Piano Concertos No. Program Notes: Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. The première, on 12th May 1926, was an enormous success, and it was not long before the work gained worldwide recognition. Born in 1906, Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a prodigious child as both pianist and composer. And when the lively, actually musical second movement begins, it makes this long first section of the work seem like a moody warm-up. His recent opera The Nose had not been well received, and despite his previous success, he certainly would not have felt immune to the vulnerability of his time. All this darkness suffocates me. It is unremittingly tragic, and not so much about 1905 or 1956, perhaps, as about the persistently tragic pattern in human events. The work was composed for the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. 44: I. Allegro brillante. It was a commission from Lev Shuglin, “a dedicated Bolshevik and head of the Propaganda Department of the State Music Publishing House (Muzsektor), to write a large orchestral work with a choral finale.” Shostakovich wanted to move away from the style of his first symphony, and had other projects he wanted to work on. This apparent contradiction was a personality trait that would stay with him his whole life, and the sometimes juddering juxtaposition of the lighted-hearted with the profound marked his compositions from the very beginning. It would also be impossible for Muzsektor to turn it down, and was guaranteed at least some friendly press. After composing the first two movements, Shostakovich wrote to a friend that it would be more fitting to call the work a ‘symphony-grotesque’. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. (This was not performed until 1961, during the Kruschev era.) Written at the age of eighteen, Shostakovich’s First Symphony was the graduation piece that completed his studies at the Leningrad Conservatory. 2 (Shostakovich) Last updated February 10, 2020. 1, Beethoven Piano Sonata no. He was born Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich on September 25, 1906, in St. Petersburg, Russia. It has been likened to the opening chapter of a novel, setting the tone for all that follows. Later on in his 10th Symphony (the 3rd movement) there is a little tune which is made from the letters of his name and another tune made up from the name of his secret girlfriend. The classicism is most apparent in the first movement, which follows 18th-century sonata form right down to repeating the exposition (the only Shostakovich Symphony that does). After the 1917 Revolution, Shostakovich’s bourgeois family background proved a distinct disadvantage in the new social order that ensued. 1, and the Symphony … The upbeat nature of the two scherzos should sound hollow, the phoney heartlessness of large groups of people. But perhaps it was not only that work’s orchestration, with its soloistic piano part, that fascinated the student composer. Maybe it was this combination of views that allowed him to write music that spoke to so many, and offended so few. Shostakovich himself called the première his ‘second birth’. Wiki mentions “the notion of “industrial” symphonies intended to inspire the proletariat.” Thank goodness that phase is over. The symphony opens with a virtuosic brilliance heavily influenced by Stravinsky’s Petrushka. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Did the masterpieces that followed need the conflict, tension, and suffering of his time before they could flower from the composer’s pen? The memoirist Ilya Ehrenburg has written of ‘a generation without tears, callous, a stranger to tender passion and to art’. Written in 1929, in less than a month, the Third Symphony is another single-movement work with choral finale. Shostakovich Symphony no. [O]ne is tempted simply to cut it off with a pair of scissors. 2013 Preview SONG TIME Piano Concerto No. 2 Seattle Symphony Judith Fong Conductor Emeritus Ludovic Morlot conducts the Seattle Symphony in music by Caroline Shaw, Shostakovich and Beethoven featuring cellist Alisa Weilerstein on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 7:30pm on Seattle Symphony Live . 12 in D minor, Op. So he’s got plenty to enjoy. 5 at our European Tour Preview Concerts with Hilary Hahn on February 23, 24 & 25. While Prokofiev’s second symphony was a head scratcher not only for the audience but the composer himself, it has gained recognition in more recent times as a blisteringly intense, genius work, at least by some. Beethoven was upheld as the artist most completely in tune with the social aspirations of his time and it was felt by many post-Revolutionary Russians that his death marked the start of the decline of the symphony as an art form altogether – one that could never be resurrected under the rampant capitalism of the west. This is the Shostakovich Symphony 5 violin excerpt from mvt 1, Rehearsal number 32 until 36. Such a work was entirely appropriate for the occasion for which it was being written. 8 in Cm, op. Dmitri Shostakovich, one of Russian culture's most acclaimed intellectuals who was censored under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, was an internationally recognized composer whose music was in over 100 films. I was touched by that. He came to grow tired of, if not entirely resent, composing the work, and thought very little of the text, but it was eventually completed. According to the poet Mayakovsky, artists should ‘spit out the past like a bone stuck in our throats… Our duty is to blare like brass-throated horns in the fogs of bourgeois vulgarity.’ Is this the explanation behind the extraordinary factory siren that heralds in the arrival of the chorus and their ‘abominable’ words? Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for Shostakovich: Symphony No. The composer’s trade-mark musical gestures are all immediately obvious. 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