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. Shostakovich may well have been a supporter of the philosophies that led to the October Revolution in the first place, but his inability to write any musical notes at all for the final lines, instead simply asking for the words to be declaimed without pitch, seems an indication of how he perceived the soulless climate of the time. 3. I was touched by that. After a deceptively light opening, the music hurls itself helter-skelter into a series of episodes that seem to collide up against each other with little meaning or purpose, sometimes breathlessly agitated, other times disconcertingly empty. The Ninth is sometimes called Shostakovich's classical symphony because of its brevity, form, and frequent chamber character. To cry out in terror. Nervous tension and sarcastic wit, passion and intelligence, contemplation and action, nobility and banality – all expressed with an economy of means that is simultaneously subtle and direct. The worst thing about it is the actual close. Starting piano lessons with his mother when he was eight, he was writing a Pushkin-inspired opera by the age of nine. 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). These early, enigmatic works point to a lifetime of ambiguity and double-speak. It would also be impossible for Muzsektor to turn it down, and was guaranteed at least some friendly press. Here, Shostakovich brings his emotions back under control and turns to mockery. Shostakovich’s last wartime symphony was the Ninth (1945), commissioned by the state to commemorate the USSR’s victory over Germany. 2 (Shostakovich) Last updated February 10, 2020. 2 in C-sharp minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 129. In time, this much repeated role would become as much a burden to him as it was a saving grace. performed by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under Neeme Järvi, or as below with the WDR Radio Chorus and WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne under Rudolf Barshai. But it gave him at least something to reach for, to accomplish, in writing his second symphony, no matter how he came to feel about the work’s merit. Cellist/conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, who knew Shostakovich well, took a more universal approach when he said the Eleventh is “a symphony written in blood, a truly tragic work. 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. Dmitri Shostakovich, Mstislav Rostropovich, London Symphony Orchestra - Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 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. 1 and 2 Christopher Lyndon-Gee, Michael Houstoun & New Zealand Symphony … It’s turning out pretty gloomy.’ The second half of the piece is certainly much more tragic in vein. As we will see, the lack of inspiration thankfully didn’t last, but this is also a reflection of the social, political and artistic climate of the time. Explain that Shostakovich put secret messages and codes into his music as a clever way of avoiding Stalins rules. 1, Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 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. From sheer misery, I’ve started to compose the finale of the symphony. Written at the age of eighteen, Shostakovich’s First Symphony was the graduation piece that completed his studies at the Leningrad Conservatory. It was after all, perfectly possible to be in favour of the Revolution yet appalled by the practices of the party that engineered it. But the style was about to change. So he’s got plenty to enjoy. But if they seem crude or illogical, that reflects the brutality and ideologically confused spirit of the age. Did the masterpieces that followed need the conflict, tension, and suffering of his time before they could flower from the composer’s pen? 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