Tag Archives: Shostakovich

Finale 25: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 in G Minor, Op. 103 “The Year 1905”- 4. The Tocsin

Written and first performed in 1957, Shostakovich’s Symphony #11 was ostensibly about the abortive Russian Revolution of 1905. Everything the composer wrote or said after Stalin squashed him in 1935 because the dictator was offended by Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk has to be decoded. He composed the piece in the wake of the Soviet repression…


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Shostakovich’s First Film Score

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote 25 film scores. The first of these was composed when he was 23 years old. The New Babylon is an expressionistic depiction of the Paris Commune of 1871. It was released in 1929 and was a failure. It’s plot is summarized here. The music is brilliant and presages virtually everything Shostakovich was…


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Shostakovich and Korngold in Santa Fe

Two major works by Dmitri Shostakovich and Eric Krongold were presented yesterday evening by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. They were preceded by a bit of fluff by Alfred Schnittke – Mo-Zart for Two Violins, after Mozart’s K 416d. For the carnival season of 1783 Mozart wrote some music for his family’s use. Most…


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Shostakovich Symphony #4 – Gergiev

Shostakovich’s 4th Symphony is unlike any of his other 14 works in this genre. To begin with, it calls for about 125 musicians. The demands on the players are extraordinary. Though it has only three movements, it typically takes more than an hour to perform. It was written in 1936 and was scheduled to be…


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Shostakovich – The Gadfly

Dmitri Shostakovich’s music seems to be in the process of eclipsing that of all other 20th century composers, again proving Verdi’s dictum that the only critic that counted, in the long run, was the audience. The Russian composer was a prolific composer of film music. His most famous piece from that ouvre is the Romance…


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Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Orchestral Excerpts

Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is the greatest Russian opera of the 20th century and among all Russian operas is matched only by Boris Godunov.  Set to a libretto by the composer and Alexander Preys, it depicts the brutality of mid 19th century Russian life and the plight of women enmeshed in a…


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Shostakovich Violin Concerto #2 and Symphony # 7

Disc 6 of Valery Gergiev’s Shostakovich cycle contains the 2nd Violin Concerto and the Leningrad Symphony (#7). It was recorded in performance in February of 2014. The soloist was Alena Baeva. The violin concerto, written and first performed in 1967, was the last concerto composed by Shostakovich. It was dedicated, as was the 1st, to…


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Shostakovich Violin Concerto #1 and Symphony #11

Disc 8 of the Shostakovich series, conducted by Valery Gergiev, mentioned in my last post contains the performance of the above music recorded at the Salle Pleyel on February 18, 2014. The soloist is the the great Russian violinist Vadim Repin. The first violin concerto (opus 77) was written in 1947-8. It was dedicated to David Oistrakh…


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Shostakovich Complete Symphonies and Concertos

Arthaus Musik has released an 8 disc DVD set of all the Shostakovich Symphonies and Concertos. Valery Gergiev, perhaps the best conductor of the Russian master now active, leads soloists and the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra and chorus in performances recorded at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. These recording were made in 2013/14. I just received…


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Bolshoi Ballet: Taming of the Shrew

The Bolshoi Ballet’s production of The Taming of the Shrew was telecast in HD at theaters around the world this afternoon. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s least politically correct play (at least for now) The Taming of the Shrew, the choreography was by Jean-Christophe Maillot. The dancing was set to about 25 pieces by Dmitri Shostakovich….


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