I agree with you utterly about the merits of no.3 (although I hope I’m not pre-empting what you yourself were going to say about it) – if ever there was a case of giving the authorities exactly what they wanted, in the form of a here-today-gone-tomorrow Socialist Realist musical slogan (albeit giving it voluntarily, which is savagely ironic given how they damn near broke him over the course of later life for daring to write anything other)! Dmitri Shostakovich composed his Symphony No. Everything old was rejected, the individual was becoming depersonalised. The sound is not unlike the beginning of The Firebird in its low string ominousness; it just lacks shape. 14 ‘To October’ Shostakovich had started to experience some of that ‘struggle’ first-hand. This choice may have been influenced at least partially by Vsevolod Meyerhold’s theory of biomechanics. 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. The première, on 12th May 1926, was an enormous success, and it was not long before the work gained worldwide recognition. 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 composer’s trade-mark musical gestures are all immediately obvious. 2, Op. 1 and 2 Christopher Lyndon-Gee, Michael Houstoun & New Zealand Symphony … Did the masterpieces that followed need the conflict, tension, and suffering of his time before they could flower from the composer’s pen? Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Wiki mentions “the notion of “industrial” symphonies intended to inspire the proletariat.” Thank goodness that phase is over. Walter, Toscanini, and Klemperer all performed it. Is this moment intended to point out the difference between the past and the present or is it supposed to show the gap between the private artist and the public composer – a gap that would be one of the defining features of Shostakovich’s entire life? COMPOSED: Shostakovich composed his Violin Concerto No. 2 in B major, Op. 1 in F minor, Op. 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. These early, enigmatic works point to a lifetime of ambiguity and double-speak. Stalin’s grip on power was starting to make itself felt. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The finale reaches a clear climax, cymbal crash and all, but a snare drum made of pure tragedy doesn’t let the piece end. All this darkness suffocates me. He was back in the party’s good graces—for the time being. This is followed by the most forced of perorations maybe ever written in music history. The word “seem” is appropriate since, of all composers in the 20th century, of none is it truer to say that the more we know the less we know. Dmitri Shostakovich, Soundtrack: Children of Men. It is challenging, undoubtedly harsh, perhaps even puzzling, but I am among those who has become spellbound by it. 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. Dmitri Shostakovich’s First Symphony may be the greatest graduation project of all time. Symphony No. 112, subtitled The Year of 1917, in 1961, dedicating it to the memory of Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution, as he did his Symphony No. 103 'The year 1905' WDR Sinfonieorchester Koln, Semyon Bychkov The performance from the WDR Symphony Orchestra is compelling at both ends of the dynamic spectrum, from the heart-rending funereal … The work was composed for the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. 20 ‘The First of May’ It is daylight, and false. 9 thoughts on “ Seeking Shostakovich: Listening to the Tenth Symphony (Part 2 of 2) ” T. March 31, 2014 at 3:19 AM It is so refreshing and lovely to read about you wanting joy for Shostakovich, because of your experience with his music. 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. After the 1917 Revolution, Shostakovich’s bourgeois family background proved a distinct disadvantage in the new social order that ensued. But if they seem crude or illogical, that reflects the brutality and ideologically confused spirit of the age. 2. It’s chamber-like for a long stretch, but the chaos increases as the rest of the ensemble joins. Mozart’s expressive 29th symphony was penned by the 18-year-old wunderkind after his visit to Vienna. It is perhaps only the thoughts and feelings themselves that are not yet fully focused. 2 in C-sharp minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 129. In the 1960s, however, he was happy for them to be performed, yet towards the end of his life he begged his son not to conduct them! 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 … Bolshevik (1920), by Boris Kustodiev.. Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. Like Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, another piece he admired, the disconcerting idea of human beings as puppets, with their actions manipulated by unseen string-pullers from on high, was one that stayed with the composer right the way through to his final symphony, written almost fifty years later. Peaceful development is a most intense struggle.’ 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. But for Shostakovich, it need not have been a question of one or the other. Even today, people wonder just what Shostakovich was trying to say. It is a radically different work than his first symphony, which is a marvelously successful work that to me gives us far better glimpses into who the composer would later mature into than either of these works we’ll discuss. Doubts and problems. Shostakovich had given them their forced happy ending, a secret testament to the horrors of life under Stalin. Only those with the shortest of musical memories can listen to the rousing choral finale with a sense of triumph and joy. 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. I was touched by that. The piece is in one unbroken movement made up of four sections, with the last containing a part for chorus. The Ninth is sometimes called Shostakovich's classical symphony because of its brevity, form, and frequent chamber character. 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. Explain that Shostakovich put secret messages and codes into his music as a clever way of avoiding Stalins rules. It’s a reminder that this work was commissioned, or as the case may be, demanded, from the composer by Shuglin, and the interesting circumstances he was in, wanting to compose something new, and being saddled with this patriotic idea. 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. Symphony No. But ten years on from the Revolution, ‘October’ had come to mean much more than the specific events of 1917. Initially described by the composer as a symphonic poem, the piece was eventually entitled ‘Symphonic Dedication – To October’. 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. ‘I am in a terrible mood,’ he continued. Shostakovich Symphony No.5 London Symphony Orchestra & Maxim Shostakovich Shostakovich: Symphony No. It has been likened to the opening chapter of a novel, setting the tone for all that follows. 14 ‘To October’ In 1927 Shostakovich was commissioned by the State Publishing House to honour the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. Program Notes: Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 10 It’s about 20-ish seconds, depending on ambient noise, before you hear the low mumbles of the ensemble in this first and longest movement. 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. 2 in G Major, Op. Dmitri Shostakovich, Mstislav Rostropovich, London Symphony Orchestra - Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 13, ‘Pathetique’, Mozart Violin Concerto no. He was born Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich on September 25, 1906, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Fearing for his life, the young composer wrote a symphony ending with a rousing march. A flute echoes the material, and there’s something of a fanfare, but almost not even any music here… As is stated on Wiki: Meant to portray the primordial chaos from which order emerged, instrumental voices merge in this 13-voice polyphonic beginning, like impulses released from the void. The idea of October was not necessarily the same thing as its reality. Wiki says: Though Shostakovich had been commissioned by Muzsektor rather than Agitotdel, and was thus expected to produce a composition of abstract music instead of a propaganda piece, writing a short agitprop symphony seemed to solve all of Shostakovich’s problems. Shostakovich's next misstep came with the Fourth Symphony, which he had been composing in his mind for some time. 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