Muzyka Klasyczna The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Sun, 01 Oct 2023 19:25:33 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management pl-pl Dmitri Shostakovich - 24 Preludes & Fugues op. 87 (2000) Dmitri Shostakovich - 24 Preludes & Fugues op. 87 (2000)

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1. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.1 in C major 8:11
2. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.2 in A minor 2:10
3. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.3 in G major 3:29
4. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.4 in E minor 7:24
5. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.5 in D major 4:05
6. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.6 in B minor 5:22
7. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.7 in A major 3:11 play
8. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.8 in F sharp minor 6:21
9. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.9 in E major 3:48
10. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.10 in C sharp minor 6:19
11. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.11 in B major 3:21
12. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.12 in G sharp minor 6:52

1. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.13 in F sharp major 7:03
2. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.14 in E flat minor 7:03
3. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.15 in D flat major 4:20
4. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.16 in B flat minor 8:59
5. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.17 in A flat major 5:13
6. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.18 in F minor 4:35 play
7. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.19 in E flat major 4:17
8. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.20 in C minor 8:05
9. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.21 in B flat major 4:01
10. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.22 in G minor 5:09
11. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.23 in F major 5:28
12. Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op.87 - Prelude & Fugue No.24 in D minor 10:24

Keith Jarrett – piano


Dmitri Shostakovich's epic series of preludes and fugues for solo piano was inspired by the very composer whom you would immediately suspect -- Johann Sebastian Bach. Indeed, the Russian composer was motivated to write this huge work after a visit to Bach's home city Leipzig in 1950; and, in fact, it resurrects the premise behind Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier," providing one prelude and fugue for every major and minor key. So having conquered the Bach work on recordings, Keith Jarrett decided to tackle its 20th century sequel in this two-CD set. Looking at it from one angle, this is Jarrett's most impressive technical achievement in the classical repertoire so far. Generally speaking, the Shostakovich is more difficult to play than the other classical works that he had recorded previously, and he is clearly up to all of its sometimes fearsome demands. From an interpretive angle, though, Jarrett doesn't get as much out of this music as, say, the late Russian pianist Tatiana Nikolaeva, who gave the first performances of the work. With Nikolaeva, each note is captured and spotlighted in ever-changing lights. Jarrett is on the hunt for detail, too -- the "No. 11," "15," and "17" fugues are particularly invigorating in that respect -- yet much of the time, he tends to color things in one way. Part of this impression may be due to the sound of his piano, which is treated with ECM's usual soft-focused cloud of reverb. For Jarrett fans who are following his classical adventures, this could be a most intriguing left turn, but those seeking the definitive recording of the pieces would find Nikolaeva more stimulating. ~ Richard S. Ginell

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Fri, 28 Jan 2011 19:47:24 +0000
Dmitri Shostakovich - Cello Concerto No.1, Cello Sonata Op.40 (2013) Dmitri Shostakovich - Cello Concerto No.1, Cello Sonata Op.40 (2013)

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01] Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107 - I Allegretto
02] Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107 - Ii Moderato
03] Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107 - Iii Cadenza
04] Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107 - Iv Allegro Con Moto
05] Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40 - I Allegro Non Troppo
06] Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40 - Ii Allegro
07] Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40 - Iii Largo
08] Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40 - Iv Allegro
09] Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40 - Moderato

Emmanuelle Bertrand, cello
Pascal Amoyel, piano
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Pascal Rophé, conductor


Here are two masterpieces for cello by Shostakovich, written 25 years apart. The insolent Sonata op.40 of 1934 – contemporary with Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, the opera soon to plunge its composer into disgrace with Stalin – was answered in 1959 by the bitter self-questioning of an artist who seemed to have sunk into depression. This Cello Concerto ends with a wicked caricature of true joy, adding the final touch to the extreme polymorphism of a traumatised humorist who had long since learned not to laugh… ---

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Sun, 13 Oct 2013 15:53:24 +0000
Dmitri Shostakovich - Complete String Quartets (1999) Dmitri Shostakovich - Complete String Quartets (1999)

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Quartet for Strings no 1 in C major, Op. 49
Quartet for Strings no 2 in A major, Op. 68
Quartet for Strings no 3 in F major, Op. 73
Quartet for Strings no 4 in D major, Op. 83
Quartet for Strings no 5 in B flat major, Op. 92
Quartet for Strings no 6 in G major, Op. 101
Quartet for Strings no 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108
Quartet for Strings no 8 in C minor, Op. 110
Quartet for Strings no 9 in E flat major, Op. 117
Quartet for Strings no 10 in A flat major, Op. 118
Quartet for Strings no 11 in F minor, Op. 122
Quartet for Strings no 12 in D flat major, Op. 133
Quartet for Strings no 13 in B flat minor, Op. 138
Quartet for Strings no 14 in F sharp major, Op. 142
Quartet for Strings no 15 in E flat minor, Op. 144
Pieces (2) for String Quartet

Emerson String Quartets


If you like your Shostakovich quartets big, brawny, and a bit brutal, you'll like the Emerson Quartet's Shostakovich quartets. The Allegros are muscular, with sharp attacks, strong sforzandos, and relentless rhythms. The Passacaglias are powerful, with massive sonorities, monumental structures, and inexorable tempos. And the Allegrettos are aggressive, with ironic accents, sarcastic tones, and mordent tempos.

If you like your Shostakovich quartets smooth, suave, and very soulful, you'll probably like the Emerson Quartet's Shostakovich quartets. The Andantes are tuneful, with long lines, supple harmonies, and warm colors. The Adagios are soaring, with arching themes, aching harmonies, and brilliant colors. And the Largos are penetrating, with expressive counterpoint, weighty sonorities, and burnished colors.

If, however, you like your Shostakovich quartets straight, no ice, no chaser, you'll probably not like the Emerson Quartet's Shostakovich quartets. The Emerson seems unable to restrain itself and too often adds too much of itself to the scores. The rawness of the chords in the Fourth Quartet's opening movement? The Emerson's idea. The nostalgia of the tone in the Ninth Quartet's slow movement? The Emerson's notion. The sentimentality of the closing bars in the Fourteenth Quartet's finale? The Emerson's interpolation. For Shostakovich straight, try the Beethoven Quartet. It premiered almost all the quartets and learned their meaning from the composer. For Shostakovich plus, try the Emerson Quartet. DG's live sound is crisp, clean, deep, and detailed with the audience intruding only with energetic applause. ---James Leonard, Rovi


Keith Jarrett, known primarily as a jazz pianist, has exhibited a great deal of courage with his recording of classical "standards" such as this one. By doing so he opens himself to accusations of dillitantism from critics, who seem almost universally inclined to place artists into narrow categories, only to label as "pretentious" any performers who try to expand their horizons...a process that usually reveals the critics' own pretentions and ignorance.

A recording like this is particularly risky business for Jarrett, who has always been controversial with critics for his unique, individualistic style, his aggressive self-assurance and unwillingness to "suffer fools gladly", and his well-known tendency to "sing" along with his jazz improvisations. Add to everything else the fact that a "standard" of this particular work already exists (in this case Tatyana Nikolaieva's Grammy-winning interpretation), and this recording faces quite an uphill battle.

Proving, however, that he is a superior artist, Jarrett's recording of the 24 Preludes and Fugues demolishes all of these would-be objections. Jarrett's interpretation of Shostakovich is perhaps the clearest, most articulate recording ever made of these works, revealing subtlties of texture and mood that previously remained hidden on the printed page...without sacrificing anything in terms of emotion. Part of the credit for this clarity goes to the superior ECM technical recording skills, but any fan of Jarrett's musicality (both expressiveness and clarity) in his jazz playing will find the same qualities here. Incidentally, one thing you won't find here is Jarrett's "singing"'s missing from all of his classical work.

As is the case with his other superb classical recordings, the real triumph here is that of Jarrett as classical performer. Not only does this work stand completely on its own (in other words, it's not a "classical recording by a jazz artist" but a totally serviceable interpretation in its own right), it also adds significantly to our understanding of Shostakovich's composition. It's not the same work as the Nikolaieva classic, and shouldn't be excessively compared to it. It makes its own statement, along with Keith Jarrett, the classical artist. In any idiom, Keith Jarrett will be remembered as one of the great pianists of our time. ---Doc Sarvis,

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Thu, 06 May 2010 19:46:51 +0000
Dmitri Shostakovich - First Violin Concerto (Repin) [2010] Dmitri Shostakovich - First Violin Concerto (Repin) [2010]

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I. Nocturne: Moderato 
II. Scherzo: Allegro 
III. Passacaglia: Andante - Cadenza (attacca) 
IV. Burlesque: Allegro con brio – Presto

Vadim Repin, violin
Orchestre de Paris
Paavo Järvi, conductor

Live internet transmission from Paris. 
Made public on October 13, 2010, by Arte TV.


Shostakovich had completed the first violin concerto as his Op. 77 in 1947 but felt that the political atmosphere would not tolerate it. He put it away and brought it back in 1955 as Op. 99, when it finally got published. Even then, the Soviet regime (and its attendant resources) were less than thrilled. Essentially, they did their best to ignore the work. Oistrakh's enthusiasm for the concerto, however, kept it alive.

In four movements, the concerto begins with a "Nocturne," a brooding discourse on two major themes. If night really inspired the composer, it may have been one of those bitterly cold, eerily clear Russian nights. The movement proceeds as a modified sonata, at least on paper, but dramatically something else goes on. The two themes gradually interpenetrate and wind up as something new and more intense than either separately. One also finds a curious little melodic turn that a few years later the composer will tie to his iconic D-S-C-H (D – Eb – C – B) musical signature, notably in the first cello concerto. Indeed, I hear DSCH starting in the second-movement scherzo, but it comes across as momentary rather than as something of great rhetorical import. The riff of the first movement delivers the main matter here, and the movement spits like a drop of water on a hot grill. Neither of these movements are by any measure routine. The third movement, however – a passacaglia, a contrapuntal display over a repeating bass line – lifts the concerto even higher. In fact, it may count as one of the finest symphonic discourses in Shostakovich's output.

The composer, from early on, had a fascination with older forms, like passacaglia and fugue. In many ways, he puts on a virtuoso compositional display. The bass line is not only unusually long, it's an odd seventeen bars. He gradually moves the bass line away from the lower instruments, and the theme makes its way through various registers of the orchestra with increasing power, climaxing in an overwhelming statement on the solo violin. From there, it's as if things have shattered. The violin increasingly confines itself in and around a single note – an enervated echo, perhaps, of the "one-note" theme of the second movement of Beethoven's Seventh. However, he makes you almost forget the formal aspects in favor of hard talk. Different listeners, of course, get different things from this music. For me, it's a lament – Lear on the plain, railing against a horrible reality, not mad, but clear-eyed and aghast at the desolation. Shostakovich has dug himself a deep hole. How can he possibly follow this? Yet, he does indeed move to a finale, using the Beethoven-Brahms strategy of transition and quasi-recitative. This takes the form of a long violin cadenza, which allows the listener to decompress. The solo instrument, exhausted by the passacaglia, begins with the "one note," the psychological ebb of the concerto, and from there gathers steam. Wisps of previous movements are recalled, including the riff and even a very close relative of DSCH. The rhythm becomes more and more insistent, until finally a rondo finale erupts with a boom from the kettledrum. It sounds like an update of the finale to the Tchaikovsky concerto, with the same general dance rhythm but with Shostakovich's acid harmonies and far more brutal outlook as well. Instead of Tchaikovsky's peasant joy, we get pure manic. Toward the end, the beginning of the passacaglia bass sounds almost subliminally on the French horns. The violin seems to notice this and throws it into the glare of a frantic coda. --- Steve Schwartz,

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:16:51 +0000
Dmitri Shostakovich - Jazz Album (1993) Dmitri Shostakovich - Jazz Album (1993)

1. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.1 - 1. Waltz	2:39
2. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.1 - 2. Polka	1:42
3. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.1 - 3. Foxtrot	3:42	
4. Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.1 for piano, trumpet & strings, Op.35 - 1. Allegretto  5:46	
5. Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.1 for piano, trumpet & strings, Op.35 - 2. Lento	8:05
6. Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.1 for piano, trumpet & strings, Op.35 - 3. Moderato 1:44	
7. Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.1 for piano, trumpet & strings, Op.35 - 4. Allegro con brio	6:28
8. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.2 - 1. March		3:16
9. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.2 - 2. Lyric Waltz		2:37
10. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.2 - 3. Dance I		3:01	
11. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.2 - 4. Waltz I		3:24	
12. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.2 - 5. Little Polka		2:38	
13. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.2 - 6. Waltz II		3:46	
14. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.2 - 7. Dance II		3:38	
15. Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No.2 - 8. Finale		2:23
16. Youmans: Tahiti Trot		3:43

Peter Masseurs (Trumpet)
Ronald Brautigam (Piano)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly – conductor


Shostakovich jazz music? Taken at face value, this CD is nothing of the sort. Shostakovich's lively and endearing forays into the popular music of his time were just that, and light years away from the work of real jazz masters such as, say Jelly Roll Morton or Duke Ellington And yet they do say something significant about Shostakovich's experience of jazz, as a comparison of these colourful, Chaplinesque Jazz Suite Suites with roughly contemporaneous music by Gershwin Milhaud, Martinu MartinJ, Roussel and others will prove. Shostakovich engaged in a particularly brittle almost Mahlerian form of parody—his concert works are full of it—and that is what comes across most powerfully here. Besides, and as annotator Elizabeth Wilson rightly observes, 'real' jazz was treated with suspicion in Soviet Russia and Shostakovich's exposure to it was therefore limited.

The two Jazz Suites were composed in the 1930s, the First in response to a competition to "raise the level of Soviet jazz from popular cafe café music to music with a professional status", the Second at the request of the then-newly formed State Orchestra for Jazz (!). The First will make you chuckle, but it is the Second (subtitled "Suite for Promenade Orchestra") that contains the best music, especially its achingly nostalgic Second Waltz. The instrumentation is light (saxophone and accordion add a touch of spice to a generally bland recipe), while the playing here is quite superb. In fact, there's little to be said about Chailly's direction other than it is good-humoured, affectionate and utterly professional, his Royal Concertgebouw players sound at home in every bar and the recording (Grotezaal, Concertgebouw) is both clean and ambient.

Taiti trot came to life when Nikolai Malko challenged Shostakovich to score Vincent Youmans's Tea for Two in an hour, or less—which he did, as a sort of mini-concerto for orchestra, each refrain being dealt to different instrumental forces. Fun that it is, its charm is terminal. Which leaves the Piano Concerto, music that for sophistication and inventive ingenuity is actually closer to what we now think of as jazz than the Jazz Suites (sample the free-wheeling, improvisatory opening to the last movement, on track 7). Ronald Brautigam's instrument is twangy at the bass end, which mightn't seem too inappropriate, but as it was recorded two years before the other items on the disc (1988), I doubt that that was the intention. Still, it's a lively, fairly intense reading, neatly supported by Chailly and trumpeter Peter Masseurs, but ultimately less memorable than Alexeev (CfP) or Jablonski (Decca), not to mention the less refined but notably characterful composer himself (EMI). --Gramophone Magazine,

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:08:44 +0000
Dmitri Shostakovich - Moskva, Cheremushki (1997) Dmitri Shostakovich - Moskva, Cheremushki (1997)

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  	  	  	Overture - Prologue 
1 		Allegretto 	5:18
2 		Drebednyov - 'That's right! Music' 	0:33
3 		Baburov - 'Well I've lived for fifty years on Tyoplui Lane.' 	1:40
  	  	  	Act I 	
  	  	  	Scene 1 - Don't touch 	
4 	1 	Bubentsov and the Chorus of Visitors 	2:33
5 		Bubentsov - 'Now please step into the next hall, comrades!' 	1:00
6 	2 	Duet Masha and Bubentsov 	3:49

 	Zino Vinnikov violin
 	Gregor Horsch cello
7 	3 	Pantomime 	2:37
8 		Sergey - 'What time is it?' 	0:13
9 	4 	Boris's Aria 	1:55
10 		Boris - 'I've come back from Moscow' 	0:30
11 	5 	Boris's Song-serenade 	2:16
12 		Lidochka - 'Have you only just got here?' 	0:52
13 	6 	Lidochka's Song 	2:35
14 		Baburov - 'Lidochka, Lidochka…' 	1:24
15 	7 	Excursion around Moscow 	4:04
16 		Drebednyov - 'Where's the car?' 	0:54
17 	8 	Duet: Vava and Drebednyov 	4:39
18 	9 	End of Excursion around Moscow 	0:40
  	  	  	Scene 2 - Write down the address 	
19 		First woman - 'Semyon Semyonovich' 	0:36
20 	10 	Ensemble of Residents 	5:04
21 	11 	Sergey's Song about Mar'ina Roscha 	2:01
22 	12 	Baburov's Song about Tyoplyi Lane 	3:24
23 		Lyusya - 'So it's Tyoplyi Lane then?' 	0:13
24 	13 	Song about Cheremushki 	2:50
25 	14 	Scene: Barabashkin with the Residents 	0:54
26 		Barabashkin - 'What are you thinking of, citizens?' 	0:53
27 	115 	Boris's Song 	1:55
28 		Boris - 'Valka!' 	3:54
29 	16 	Scene: Barabashkin and Drebednyov with the Residents 	0:48
30 	17 	Finale of Act I 	1:02
  	  	  	Act II 	
31 	18 	Barabashkin's Couplets 	2:31
  	  	  	Scene 3 - Airborne Landing 	
32 		Boris - 'That's it Lidochka, that's it!' 	0:54
33 	19 	Duet: Lidochka and Boris 	6:22
  	  	  	DISC TWO 	
1 		Lidochka - 'You are not angry, my valiant sir?' 	2:45
2 	20 	Duet: Lyusya and Sergey 	4:59
3 		Lyusya - 'Oh, what was that?' 	2:11
4 	21 	Barabashkin's and Drebednyov's Couplets 	3:59
5 		Vava - 'Fedya!' 	0:36
6 	22 	Duet: Lidochka and Boris 	2:46
7 		Baburov - 'So where is the young man?' 	1:04
8 	23 	Scene (Lidochka, Baburov, Barabashkin, Drebednyov) 	0:41
9 		Sergey - 'And where are you off to?' 	0:46
10 	24 	Song: Lyusya and the Construction workers 	0:59
  	  	  	Scene 4 - An alarming 'knock at the door' 	
11 		Masha - 'Let's have some tea' 	1:07
12 	25 	Duet: Masha and Bubentsov 	3:09
13 		Bubentsov - 'Masha, it's someone ringing for us!' 	2:53
14 	26 	Polka 	4:21
15 		The others - 'Guests!' 	2:57
16 	27 	Song about Sheremushki 	0:23
17 		Lidochka - 'Where can we go now?' 	0:27
18 	28 	Ballet 	6:33
19 	29 	Apotheosis 	1:13
20 		Boris - 'That was the move to the new flat' 	0:34
21 	30 	Finale of Act II 	0:33
  	  	  	Act III 	
22 	31 	Entr'acte 	2:33
23 	32 	Scene 	0:54
24 		Baburov - 'Play something, comrade conductor…' 	0:37
  	  	  	Scene 5 - The Magic Clock 	
25 	33 	Lidochka's Song 	1:44
26 		Bubentsov - 'Taking things easy?!' 	0:50
27 	34 	Waltz of the flowers 	1:07
28 		Lidochka - 'Am I dreaming?' 	1:14
29 	35 	Barabashkin's Song 	0:40
30 		Lyusya - 'Are you afraid?' 	3:44
31 	36 	Duet: Lidochka and Boris 	1:54
32 		Boris - 'Nevertheless, the parade ground has been cleared!' 	4:23
33 	37 	Sergey's Song 	0:49
34 		Barabashkin - 'Not bad that bench.' 	2:43
35 	38 	Scene: Barabashkin 	1:03
36 	39 	Finale 	1:45
 	Andrei Baturkin baritone - Alexander Petrovich Bubentsov
 	Irina Gelakhova mezzo-soprano - Masha
 	Mikhail Goujov bass - Semyon Semyonovich Baburov
 	Elena Prokina soprano - Lidochka
 	Anatoly Lochak baritone - Boris Koretsky
 	Herman Apaikin tenor - Sergey Glushkov
 	Lydia Chernykh soprano - Lyusya
  	Chorus: Visitors, Residents, New tenants and Construction workers 	
 	Russian State Symphonic Cappella
 	Valeri Polyansky - conductor
 	Residentie Orchestra The Hague
 	Gennady Rozhdestvensky – conductor


Although best known for his 15 symphonies and 15 string quartets, Shostakovich actually began his compositional career as a composer for the theater. Before he was 30, he had composed two full-length operas, three full-length ballets, incidental music for seven plays, and eight film scores. All this ended in 1936 when his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District and his ballet The Limpid Stream were denounced on the front page of Pravda. From that time onward, Shostakovich completed an opera for a student who died in the War, wrote the first act of an opera he never completed, and allowed several ballets to be compiled and arranged from his pre-existing music but he never again wrote a work for the theater.

Except, that is, for Moskva, Cheremushki -- a relentlessly cheerful three-act musical comedy with a satirical edge, set in a real apartment complex south of Moscow. A mixture of song, dance, and spectacle, Moskva, Cheremushki included pop songs, folk songs, massed songs, social realism, social satire, and romance; in form it resembled the operettas of Offenbach, Lehár, and Kalman, the Hollywood film musicals of the 1930s and 1940s, and Broadway musicals of all time, and in Shostakovich's hands it holds together astonishingly well as a piece of popular art.

The plot, such as it is, concerns the inhabitants of the Cheremushki apartment complex and their successful attempt to thwart a plan by the complex's general manager to evict them. But the plot is merely a frame upon which Shostakovich hung his delightful music. Number after number features attractive and instantly memorable melodies set to exhilarating orchestrations. Shostakovich's music balances the sentimental requirements of the form with the satirical requirements of his own conscious. The result is a work which reveals that, had he wanted to, Shostakovich could have written some of the best Broadway musicals of the time.

Some sections of Moskva, Cheremushki are scattered among the "Ballet Suites" prepared from various Shostakovich scores by Lev Avtomian. In addition, British composer Andrew Cornall made a different suite, drawing only on the musical, with the approval of Shostakovich's widow. ---James Leonard, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Thu, 08 Apr 2010 10:52:42 +0000
Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphonies Nos. 11 & 12 (Neeme Järvi) [1991] Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphonies Nos. 11 & 12 (Neeme Järvi) [1991]

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1. Symphony No.11 in G minor, Op.103 "The Year of 1905" - 1. The Palace Square (Adagio) 13:49
2. Symphony No.11 in G minor, Op.103 "The Year of 1905" - 2. Ninth of January (Allegro - Adagio) 17:00
3. Symphony No.11 in G minor, Op.103 "The Year of 1905" - 3. In memoriam (Adagio - attacca:) 10:29
4. Symphony No.11 in G minor, Op.103 "The Year of 1905" - 4. The Tocsin (Allegro non troppo - Allegro – Adagio) 13:29
5. October - Symphonic Poem, Op.131 - Moderato – Allegro 12:30
6. Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes, op.115 - Moderato - Allegro non troppo - Adagio -Allegro-Presto

1. Symphony No.12 in D minor, Op.112 "The Year 1917" - 1. Revolutionary Petrograd (Moderato - Allegro - Più mosso - Allegro) 12:27
2. Symphony No.12 in D minor, Op.112 "The Year 1917" - 2. Razliv (Allegro. L'istesso tempo - Adagio) 12:58
3. Symphony No.12 in D minor, Op.112 "The Year 1917" - 3. Aurora (L'istesso tempo - Allegro) 4:27
4. Symphony No.12 in D minor, Op.112 "The Year 1917" - 4. Dawn of Humanity (L'istesso tempo - Allegretto - Allegro - Moderato) 9:20
5. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 1. Introduction and Night Patrol (Allegro non troppo - Moderato. Poco allegretto) 2:30
6. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 2. Funeral March (Adagio) 1:46
7. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 3. Flourish and Dance Music (Allegro - Allegretto) 2:20
8. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 4. The Hunt (Allegro) 1:54
9. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 5. Pantomime of the Actors (Presto) 1:38
10. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 6. Procession (Moderato) 1:03
11. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 7. Musical Pantomime (Allegro)1:10
12. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 8. Banquet (Allegro) 1:11
13. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 9. Ophelia's Song (Allegro -Meno mosso - Presto) 1:45
14. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 10. Cradle Song (Andantino) 2:13
15. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 11. Requiem (Adagio) 1:21
16. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 12. Tournament (Allegro) 1:02
17. Hamlet (Suite) op.32a - 13. Fortinbras's March (Allegretto) 1:48
18. The Age of Gold - Ballet Suite, Op.22a - 1. Introduction (Allegro non troppo) 3:40
19. The Age of Gold - Ballet Suite, Op.22a - 2. Adagio8:05
20. The Age of Gold - Ballet Suite, Op.22a - 3. Polka (Allegretto) 1:57
21. The Age of Gold - Ballet Suite, Op.22a - 4. Dance (Allegro) 2:06

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi – conductor


Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11 ostensibly was written to commemorate the tragic events of January 9, 1905, when several hundred of about 10,000 demonstrators at the Tsar's St. Petersburg winter palace were killed on orders from government officials. The slaughter incited further demonstrations and anti-Tsarist activities, culminating in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Shostakovich would later claim, in the controversial Volkov book Testimony, that the symphony's inspiration was actually the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In any event, the symphony was subtitled "1905," not "1956," and most of its themes were derived from Russian revolutionary songs. Its four movements, all with subtitles, are played without pause. The first (Adagio) is subtitled "The Palace Square" and opens in a somber, dark mood built on several motifs, a crucial one on drums representing the protesters forming at the palace. Themes from two rather mournful revolutionary songs, Listen and The Prisoner, are then presented and later developed. The movement is permeated by ominous thudding drums, eerie string writing, and a growing sense of unrest. The nearly 20-minute second movement (Allegro - Adagio) is subtitled "The Ninth of January" and depicts the bloody events of that day. It is the most complex and dramatic panel, recalling motivic and thematic material from the first movement and using themes from two songs in Shostakovich's 10 Poems for chorus without orchestra -- "Comrades, the Bugles Are Sounding" and "Bare Your Heads" -- the latter reappearing at climactic moments in the third and fourth movements. The most dramatic music in the second movement comes with the fugato section, which builds to a brutal, percussive climax using a variant of the demonstrators' motif to depict the slaughter. The eerie quiet from the symphony's opening follows, leading into the Adagio third movement. Subtitled "In Memoriam," it is mournful, using the melody from the popular song "You Fell As a Victim." Later, the theme from another song, "Welcome, the Free Word of Liberty," is quoted, after which comes a powerful climax. The finale (Allegro non troppo) is subtitled "The Tocsin" (alarm bell). In its feverish opening, it alludes to the music in Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10's second movement, which supposedly satirizes Stalin (Volkov). Later, the melody from "Rage, You Tyrants" is used and the movement gradually takes on a defiant, triumphal air, with a bell tolling its warning at the symphony's powerful close.


There are five Shostakovich symphonies of his 15 that have political/historical programs: Nos. 2, 3, 7, 11, and 12. Probably one of the strongest arguments put forth by those who support the Volkov view of the composer (i.e., that he felt constant oppression in both his professional and personal life under the Stalin and post-Stalin Soviet regimes and thus satirized his persecutors with veiled symbolism in his music), is that these five patriotic symphonies are his least effective. The Twelfth is probably his most approachable symphony, not least because it contains several attractive, quite memorable themes. But its expressive language is self-consciously straightforward, as if the composer were striving with every note to avoid complexity and controversy at all cost.

The Symphony No. 12, being rather simple and straightforward, contains nothing of the hidden symbolism one hears in other Shostakovich symphonies, like the Fifth, Seventh, and Tenth. Thus, its apparently sincere depiction of the Bolshevik Revolution as a heroic and liberating event becomes hard to reconcile with the view of Shostakovich as a dissident. Yet it is possible that the composer disapproved of the Soviet system under Stalin and the oppression that still lingered, but still harbored a positive view of Lenin and the revolutionary movement.

The Symphony No. 12 has four continuous movements, each having subtitles relating to the Revolution: "Revolutionary Petrograd" (marked Moderato - Allegro), "Razliv" (Allegro-Adagio), "Aurora" (Allegro), and "The Dawn of Humanity" (Allegretto - Moderato). It should be mentioned here that the second-movement subtitle, "Razliv" (Overflow), refers to the locale north of St. Petersburg where Lenin hid out to conduct his revolutionary activities in safety; and Aurora was the name of the ship that fired a shot through a window of the Winter Palace, initiating the Revolution.

There are two main themes that occur throughout the symphony. The first symbolizes oppression (in the first movement introduction) and a rallying against it in the Allegro section that follows. The ensuing second theme, which is similar to the first, though more hymn-like and serene, symbolizes hope and ultimately victory over the oppressors. Both have strong appeal, and as Shostakovich develops them throughout the symphony, their metamorphoses yield music of colorful bombast, including the march near the end of the third movement and the percussion-laden coda of the finale, the drama as found in the development of the first movement, and the restlessness of the second movement.

As a populist drama, this symphony offers thematic appeal but tempers its attractive qualities with the composer's overly simplistic expressive language and blatant bombast in his apparent artistic acquiescence to Soviet authorities. Was Shostakovich a true dissident, like Solzhenitsyn, or an opportunist? --- Robert Cummings, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Mon, 15 Feb 2010 18:22:02 +0000
Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphonies Nos.13, 14 & 15 (Neeme Järvi) [1996] Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphonies Nos.13, 14 & 15 (Neeme Järvi) [1996]

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 15 in A major, Op. 141: 1. Allegretto
2. Symphony No. 15 in A major, Op. 141: 2. Adagio - Largo - Adagio (attacca:)
3. Symphony No. 15 in A major, Op. 141: 3. Allegretto
4. Symphony No. 15 in A major, Op. 141: 4. Adagio - Allegretto - Adagio - Allegretto
5. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 1. De profundis
6. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 2. Malagueña
7. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 3. Loreley
8. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 4. The Suicide
9. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 5. On Watch
10. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 6. Madam, look!

Disc: 2
1. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 7. At the Sante Jail
2. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 8. Zaporozhye Cossacks' Reply to the Sultan of Constantinople
3. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 9. O Delvig, Delvig!
4. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 10. The Poet's Death
5. Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135: 11. Conclusion
6. Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 (Babi Yar): 1. Babi Yar
7. Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 (Babi Yar): 2. Humour
8. Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 (Babi Yar): 3. At the Store
9. Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 (Babi Yar): 4. Fears
10. Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 (Babi Yar): 5. Career

Ljuba Kazarnovskaya – soprano
Anatolij Kotscherga – bass
Sergei Leiferkus - bass
Estonian National Male Choir
Goteborgs Symfoniker
Neeme Järvi – conductor


Symphony No. 13 "Babi Yar". The death of Josef Stalin on March 5, 1953, ushered in an era of freedom for Soviet artists. But, oddly enough, for nearly a decade following the dictator's passing, Shostakovich, one of the chief targets of Soviet censors in the past, wrote nothing of a radical or adventurous nature. In 1962, however, he broke out of his conservative shell and composed his Symphony No. 13, whose expressive language is deeper and more uncompromising than any of his then-recent compositions. Only the unwieldy Symphony No. 4, whose belated premiere took place in 1961, 25 years after its completion, is as challenging and substantive.

Even before the Symphony No. 13's premiere, Shostakovich was in trouble with the Khrushchev regime over it, though not, however, because of his music, but rather because of the texts he chose to set. The work uses five poems by Evgeny Yevtushenko, and it was the first of these in particular, "Babi Yar," from which the symphony derives its subtitle, that created the controversy. It tells of oppression of the Jews in Russia, an injustice Soviets felt the need to deny.

Over the objections of government officials, the premiere of the symphony took place in December 1962. It was a success, but pressures mounted to suppress or modify the work and a second performance had to be canceled. Bowing at last to the wishes of authorities, Yevtushenko and Shostakovich allowed the texts to be attenuated. Another performance took place, with the textual changes, after which the work disappeared from Soviet concert halls for nearly three years.

The Symphony No. 13 is made up of five movements, each having a subtitle pertaining to a Yevtushenko poem: Adagio ("Babi Yar"), Allegretto ("Humor"), Adagio ("In the store"), Largo ("Fears"), and Allegretto ("A career"). The chorus sings in unison or octaves throughout, except for a passage near the end of the third movement. The orchestral forces are sizeable, but Shostakovich's scoring tends to be sparing throughout, although there are outbursts of considerable power in several places.

The first movement is dark and dramatic, morbid and harsh. This bleak panel, with the bass soloist prominent throughout much of its duration, is an atmospheric and powerful setting of Yevtushenko's texts. The second movement is a Scherzo, and its "Humor" is often tart and brash.

The last three movements are continuous. The text of "In the store" praises the ordinary working woman. Shostakovich's music is subdued and dark throughout most of the movement, painting a bleak picture of life (which Soviet officials also could not have found much to their liking). The riveting climax in this section comes when the chorus sings (about women), "To shortchange them is shameful...." The austere and dark fourth movement deals with fears, as the chorus starts off whispering the word, effectively summoning a fearful atmosphere. The last movement, which offers text praising those with integrity in their careers, begins with an attractive, slightly sad waltz, although the mood throughout is brighter than in any previous panel. The ending is quiet, with the waltz turning gossamer, almost mystical.

In the last two decades of the twentieth century, this symphony gained considerable popularity both in the concert hall and on recordings. A typical performance of it lasts from about an hour to nearly 70 minutes. --- Robert Cummings, Rovi


Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135. In Testimony, by Solomon Volkov, Shostakovich is quoted, "Fear of death may be the most intense emotion of all....[However], death is not considered an appropriate theme for Soviet art, and writing about death is tantamount to wiping your nose on your sleeve in company....I wrote a number of works reflecting my understanding of the question, and as it seems to me, they're not particularly optimistic works. The most important of them, I feel, is the Fourteenth Symphony; I have special feelings for it....[People] read this idea in the Fourteenth: 'Death is all-powerful.' They want the finale to be comforting, to say that death is only the beginning. But it's not a beginning, it's the real end, there will be nothing afterward, nothing...."

The musical vocabulary is his most advanced since two early and cacophonous cantata-symphonies: No. 2 (To October) and No. 3 (The First of May). He himself chose texts in Russian translations. It is scored for vocalists, strings, and percussion. Although basically diatonic and texturally transparent, the writing in No. 14 is recurringly atonal, with violent outbursts, and an implicit repudiation of "socialist realism." The vocal line suggests accompanied recitative or declamation, even Sprechstimme.

"De Profundis" (García Lorca) for bass. In memory of "the hundred lovers" who died in the Spanish Civil War, a bleak theme winds, while the voice declaims over a contrabass drone.

"Malagueña" (García Lorca) for soprano. A fast and frightening depiction of Death's coming and going. Castanets and a whip-crack lead without pause to --

"Loreley" (Apollinaire, "after Clemens Brentano") for soprano and baritone. A dialogue between the legendary nymph and a smitten Bishop, who seeks to save her soul, but loses it to the Rhine.

"The Suicide" (Apollinaire) for soprano. Repetitions in the text engender music that doubles back on itself hypnotically.

"Les Attentives One" (Apollinaire) for soprano. About incest and imminent death, with a macabre rhythm on tom-toms and xylophone that creates hysteria, leading to --

"Les Attentives Two" (Apollinaire) for soprano and bass. "Madame, you've lost something." "My heart, nothing important." An ostinato on xylophone accompanies the words "It is here I snap my fingers...."

"In the Santé Prison" (Apollinaire) for bass. The solitary despair of "Lazarus entering the tomb instead of coming forth as he did," with a long, eerie, pizzicato interlude.

"Reply of the Zaporozhean Cossacks to the Sultan of Constantinople" (Apollinaire) for bass. They revile a monarch "more criminal than Barabbas...fed on garbage and dirt...."

"O Delvig! Delvig!" (Küchelbecker) for bass. Addressed to poet-comrade Anton Delvig, this touchingly lyrical lament from prison contains the only ray of light in the work. There is a string epilogue before --

"The Poet's Death" (Rilke) for soprano. A winding musical line recalls "De Profundis" while the singer contemplates the corpse.

"Conclusion" (Rilke) for soprano and bass. In unison, the soloists sing over castanets and string pizzicatos of Death's immensity. It ends on a densely dissonant chord. --- Roger Dettmer, Rovi


Symphony No. 15 in A major, Op. 141 Shostakovich's Symphony No. 15 differs in several substantial ways from his other late symphonies. The Eleventh (1957), subtitled "The Year 1905," and Twelfth (1960), subtitled "The Year 1917," are both programmatic and relate to the political and historical events associated with the year in the title. The next two symphonies have sung texts, with the Thirteenth (1962), for bass, chorus, and orchestra, carrying the subtitle "Babiy Yar" (texts by Yevtushenko), and the Symphony No. 14 (1969), for soprano and bass soloists and chamber orchestra, not really a symphony but a collection of songs based on texts by Lorca, Apollinaire, Küchelbecker, and Rilke.

With the Symphony No. 15, Shostakovich's last foray in the genre, the composer at last returned to the purely instrumental and non-programmatic realm, which, one could argue, he had not revisited since the 1939 Symphony No. 6. While it is true that the Symphonies 8, 9, and 10 carry no official program, the first two are clearly associated with the war (the Ninth is a victory celebration), and the Tenth allegedly contains a portrait of Stalin in its second movement. But the Symphony No. 15 inhabits a purely emotional and intellectual plane, quite removed -- as far as we know -- from the world of politics and history. Yet it is generally agreed that the work is autobiographical, not in the sense that it depicts specific events, but rather that it expresses reflections on the past.

The Fifteenth is also unique in that it is lightly scored throughout, certainly the leanest of the composer's purely instrumental symphonies. Shostakovich had moved in this direction with the Symphony No. 14 and had found increasing difficulty in writing in the late 1960s, owing to a nervous-system disorder -- brittle-bone poliomyelitis -- that gradually crippled his right hand, making simple tasks problematic and rendering the process of scoring complicated orchestral works an extremely grueling task. The Symphony No. 15 was premiered on January 8, 1972, with the composer's son Maxim conducting. A typical performance of the work lasts from 40 to 45 minutes.

The work is divided into four movements: 1) Allegretto, 2) Adagio - Largo - Adagio, 3) Allegretto, and 4) Adagio - Allegretto. It stands apart from the composer's other symphonies in its quotations and near-quotations from compositions by others and by Shostakovich himself. The symphony is, in fact, chock full of these quotations. The first movement, for example, quotes the famous (Lone Ranger) theme from Rossini's William Tell overture. The Fate motif from Wagner's Ring cycle and themes from Siegfried and Tristan und Isolde appear in the finale. There are near-quotations from Tchaikovsky and Mahler, and Shostakovich alludes to themes in some of his earlier symphonies.

The first movement, originally subtitled "The Toyshop," has a childlike atmosphere to its playfulness, yet at times sounds under the spell of dark and cynical forces. The second movement is long and enigmatic, having a funereal mood for much of its duration and climaxing in an outburst of what is clearly anger or frustration. The third movement is the shortest in the work (about four minutes) and is bitingly satirical, even nose-thumbing. The finale contains the most cryptic and perhaps most profound music in the work. Because it, too, appears to express the composer's thoughts on death, many have concluded that the autobiographical elements in the work are expressed in a sort of cradle-to-grave story, the first movement representing childhood and the finale the composer's final years and imminent passing. --- Robert Cummings, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Thu, 20 Jan 2011 19:34:11 +0000
Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony no.10 (Rozhdestvensky) [1986] Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony no.10 (Rozhdestvensky) [1986]

   1. Moderato
   2. Allegro
   3. Allegretto
   4. Andante – Allegro

USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra
Gennady Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky – conductor


Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93.

This was Shostakovich's first symphony in eight years, and the gap between this and the 1945 Ninth owed nothing to a lack of inspiration in the genre. In 1948, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Khachaturian, and other noted Soviet composers were censured for writing what party censors called "formalistic" music, a code word for dissonance and the expression of negative emotions or cynicism. Of course, examined against such vague and, therefore, potentially all-inclusive standards, virtually any composition could be vulnerable to attack, and many of Shostakovich's were singled out. After January 1948, most Soviet composers were simply unsure of what was safe to write. Shostakovich turned to writing patriotic bombast like the choral work Song of the Forests (1949), the cantata The Sun Shines on Our Motherland (1952), as well as vapid film scores like that for the 1950 release The Fall of Berlin.

On March 5, 1953, Stalin died. The stringent policies in the arts loosened somewhat in the aftermath of the dictator's passing, and Shostakovich seized the opportunity to write a large symphony, not least because he could satirize Stalin in it. In fact, the second movement is said to be a depiction of the Soviet tyrant. The music in this Allegro is angry and intense, but also quite Russian. Certainly, it can be heard as austere and hostile, sinister and threatening, thereby painting an effective and credible portrait of Stalin, but it might also express anxiety and fear, emotions hardly new to Shostakovich. Thus, the "Stalin" interpretation of this movement, while quite possibly valid, is not fully convincing, much less verifiable.

The Symphony No. 10 opens up with a Moderato movement that is nearly as long as the ensuing three movements combined. The mood is dark and brooding and the structure is not unlike that of the Eighth's opening section: there is an introductory theme, followed by two "main" themes. Here, the second of those is faster than its counterpart in the Eighth, and while the atmosphere is intense in the exposition and development section, there is a relaxation in intensity in the recapitulation and coda, where the Eighth remains mired in darkness.

As suggested above, the second movement is a biting, sinister piece. It is followed by an Allegretto of decidedly Russian character, whose mood brightens somewhat, especially in the middle section. This movement is notable because it is the first time that Shostakovich used his personal motto, D-E flat-C-B, which, via German transliteration, represents his initials, DSCH. This motif would appear in numerous subsequent works by the composer, like the Violin Concerto No. 1 (1947-1948; rev. 1955) and his popular String Quartet No. 8 (1961).

The finale starts off with an Andante that seems mired in a slow-motion haze. Suddenly the mood turns joyous and playful, lively and colorful. An austere middle section recalls the opening gloom, but the cheerful music returns and the symphony ends in a blaze of ecstatic joy. The Symphony No. 10 was premiered in Leningrad on December 17, 1953, under the baton of Yevgeny Mravinsky. It has become, with the Symphony No. 5, Shostakovich's most often performed and recorded symphony. --- Robert Cummings, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:07:10 +0000
Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony no.5 (Haitink) [1983] Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony no.5 (Haitink) [1983]

4.Allegro non troppo

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Bernard Haitink – conductor


In 1936, the Soviet government launched an official attack against Dmitri Shostakovich's music, calling it "vulgar, formalistic, [and] neurotic." He became an example to other Soviet composers, who rightfully interpreted these events as a broad campaign against musical modernism. This constituted a crisis, both in Shostakovich's career and in Soviet music as a whole; composers had no choice but to write simple, optimistic music that spoke directly (especially through folk idioms and patriotic programs) to the people and glorified the state.

In light of these circumstances, Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony (first performed in 1937) is a bold composition that seems to fly in the face of his critics. Although the musical language is pared down from that of his earlier symphonies, the Fifth eschews any hint of a patriotic program and, instead, dwells on undeniably somber and tragic affects -- wholly unacceptable public emotions at the time. According to the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the government would certainly have had Shostakovich executed for writing such a work had the public ovation at the first performance not lasted 40 minutes. The official story, however, is quite different. An unknown commentator dubbed the symphony "the creative reply of a Soviet artist to justified criticism," and to the work was attached an autobiographical program focusing on the composer's metamorphosis from incomprehensible formalist to standard-bearer of the communist party. Publicly, Shostakovich accepted the official interpretation of his work; however, in the controversial collection of his memoirs (Testimony, by Solomon Volkov) he is quoted as saying: "I think it is clear to everyone what happens in the Fifth. The rejoicing is forced, created under have to be a complete oaf not to hear that."

Regardless of its philosophical underpinnings, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 is a masterpiece of the orchestral repertory, poignant and economical in its conception. There is no sign of the excess of ideas so common in the Fourth Symphony. Instead, Shostakovich deploys the orchestra sparingly and allows the entire work to grow naturally out of just a few motives. Given some of his earlier works, the Fifth is conservative in language. Throughout the work he allows the strings to be the dominant orchestral force, making soloistic use of the woodwinds and horn especially effective. The Moderato begins with a jagged, foreboding canon in the strings that forms the motivic basis for the entire movement. The impassioned mood is occasionally interrupted by a lyrical melody with string ostinato, later the subject of a duet for flute and horn.

The second movement (Allegretto) is a grotesque 3/4 dance which, at times, can't help but mock itself; the brass section is featured prominently. The following Largo, a sincere and personal outpouring of musical emotion, is said to have left the audience at the work's premiere in tears. Significantly, it was composed during an intensely creative period following the arrest and execution of one of Shostakovich's teachers.

The concluding Allegro non troppo has been the center of much debate: some critics consider it a poorly constructed concession to political pressure, while others have made note of its possible irony. While the prevailing mood is triumphant, there is some diversion to the somber and foreboding, and it is not until the end that it takes on the overtly "big-finishy" character for which it is so noted. --- Allen Schrott, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Shostakovich Dmitri Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:11:50 +0000