Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich

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Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich dmʲitrij ˌdmʲitrɪjevʲiʨ ʂɨstɐˈkɔvʲɪʨ (Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

: Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович; 25 September 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century.
Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 under the patronage of Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

's chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky
Mikhail Tukhachevsky
Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky was a Marshal of the Soviet Union, commander in chief of the Red Army , and one of the most prominent victims of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge.-Early life:...

, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government
Relationship between Dmitri Shostakovich and Joseph Stalin
The relationship between Dmitri Shostakovich and Joseph Stalin was among the most controversial of the Soviet government's relationships with contemporary artists. The style of Shostakovich's composition often did not comply with Stalin's view of "correct Soviet form"; this led to great tensions...

. Nevertheless, he also received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the USSR (from 1962 until death).
After a period influenced by Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century...

 and Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style, as exemplified by Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (opera)
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is an opera in four acts by Dmitri Shostakovich, his Op.29. The libretto was written by Alexander Preis and the composer, and is based on the story Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov. The opera is sometimes referred to informally as Lady Macbeth...

(1934). This single work juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, including the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and post-Romanticism
Post-romanticism
Post-romanticism or Postromanticism refers to a range of cultural products and attitudes emerging in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, after the period of Romanticism....

 (after Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

). Sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque
Grotesque
The word grotesque comes from the same Latin root as "Grotto", meaning a small cave or hollow. The original meaning was restricted to an extravagant style of Ancient Roman decorative art rediscovered and then copied in Rome at the end of the 15th century...

 characterize much of his music.
Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

 and six concerti. His symphonic work is typically complex and requires large scale orchestras. Music for chamber ensembles includes 15 string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

s, a piano quintet, two pieces for a string octet, and two piano trios. For the piano he composed two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes
Prelude (music)
A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude can be thought of as a preface. It may stand on its own or introduce another work...

, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues
24 Preludes and Fugues (Shostakovich)
The 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 by Dmitri Shostakovich is a set of 24 piano pieces, one in each of the major and minor keys of the chromatic scale. While the musical style and ideas are Shostakovich's own, it follows the form of Frederic Chopin's Op. 28 preludes.Each piece is in two parts: a...

. Other works include three operas, and a substantial quantity of film music
Film score
A film score is original music written specifically to accompany a film, forming part of the film's soundtrack, which also usually includes dialogue and sound effects...

.

Early life


Born at 2 Podolskaya Ulitsa in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, Shostakovich was the second of three children born to Dmitri Boleslavovich Shostakovich and Sofiya Vasilievna Kokoulina. Shostakovich's paternal grandfather (originally surnamed Szostakowicz) was of Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 Roman Catholic descent (his family roots trace to the region of the town of Vileyka
Vileyka
Vileyka – town in Republic of Belarus, the capital of the Vileyka Raion in the Minsk Voblast. It is located on the river Viliya, 100 km to northwest from Minsk. First documental record: 16 November 1460....

 in Belarus), but his immediate forebears came from Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. His paternal grandfather, a Polish revolutionary in the January Uprising
January Uprising
The January Uprising was an uprising in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth against the Russian Empire...

 of 1863–4, had been exiled to Narim (near Tomsk
Tomsk
Tomsk is a city and the administrative center of Tomsk Oblast, Russia, located on the Tom River. One of the oldest towns in Siberia, Tomsk celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2004...

) in 1866 in the crackdown that followed Dmitri Karakozov
Dmitry Karakozov
Dmitry Vladimirovich Karakozov was the first Russian revolutionary to make an attempt on the life of a tsar.Karakozov was born in the family of a minor nobleman in Kostroma...

's assassination attempt on Tsar Alexander II. When his term of exile ended, Boleslaw Szostakowicz decided to remain in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. He eventually became a successful banker in Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

 and raised a large family. His son, Dmitriy Boleslavovich Shostakovich, the composer's father, was born in exile in Narim in 1875 and attended Saint Petersburg University, graduating in 1899 from the faculty of physics and mathematics. After graduation, Dmitriy Boleslavovich went to work as an engineer under Dmitriy Mendeleyev at the Bureau of Weights and Measures in Saint Petersburg. In 1903, he married Sofiya Vasilievna Kokoulina, another Siberian transplant to the capital. Sofiya herself was one of six children born to Vasiliy Yakovlevich Kokoulin, a Russian Siberian native.

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a child prodigy
Child prodigy
A child prodigy is someone who, at an early age, masters one or more skills far beyond his or her level of maturity. One criterion for classifying prodigies is: a prodigy is a child, typically younger than 18 years old, who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding...

 as a pianist and composer, his talent becoming apparent after he began piano lessons with his mother at the age of nine. (On several occasions, he displayed a remarkable ability to remember what his mother had played at the previous lesson, and would get "caught in the act" of pretending to read, playing the previous lesson's music when different music was placed in front of him.) In 1918, he wrote a funeral march in memory of two leaders of the Kadet party
Constitutional Democratic party
The Constitutional Democratic Party was a liberal political party in the Russian Empire. Party members were called Kadets, from the abbreviation K-D of the party name...

, murdered by Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 sailors. In 1919, at the age of 13, he was allowed to enter the Petrograd Conservatory
Saint Petersburg Conservatory
The N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory is a music school in Saint Petersburg. In 2004, the conservatory had around 275 faculty members and 1,400 students.-History:...

, then headed by Alexander Glazunov
Alexander Glazunov
Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov was a Russian composer of the late Russian Romantic period, music teacher and conductor...

. Glazunov monitored Shostakovich's progress closely and promoted him. Shostakovich studied piano with Leonid Nikolayev
Leonid Vladimirovich Nikolayev
Leonid Vladimirovich Nikolayev was a Russian/Soviet pianist, composer and pedagogue.Nikolayev was born in Kiev in 1878. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Sergei Taneyev and Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov...

, after a year in the class of Elena Rozanova, composition with Maximilian Steinberg
Maximilian Steinberg
Maximilian Osseyevich Steinberg was a Russian composer of classical music born in what is now Lithuania.-Life:...

, and counterpoint
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

 and fugue
Fugue
In music, a fugue is a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition....

 with Nikolay Sokolov, with whom he became friends. Shostakovich also attended Alexander Ossovsky
Alexander Ossovsky
Alexander Vyacheslavovich Ossovsky , 1871 –July 31, 1957) was a renowned Russian musical writer, critic and musicologist, professor at Saint Petersburg Conservatory, pupil of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and friend of Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alexander Siloti and Nikolai...

's history of music classes. However, he suffered for his perceived lack of political zeal, and initially failed his exam in Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 methodology in 1926. His first major musical achievement was the First Symphony
Symphony No. 1 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 1 in F minor by Dmitri Shostakovich was written between 1924 and 1925, and first performed in Saint Petersburg by the Leningrad Philharmonic under Nikolai Malko on 12 May 1926...

(premiered 1926), written as his graduation piece at the age of nineteen.
After graduation, he initially embarked on a dual career as concert pianist and composer, but his dry style of playing (Fay comments on his "emotional restraint" and "riveting rhythmic drive") was often unappreciated. He nevertheless won an "honorable mention" at the First International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition
International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition
The International Chopin Piano Competition , often referred to as the Chopin Competition, is a piano competition held in Warsaw, Poland to honour the name of Frédéric Chopin. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious music competitions in the world...

 in Warsaw in 1927. After the competition Shostakovich met the conductor Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor. He is considered one of the best known conductors of the 20th century. Walter was born in Berlin, but is known to have lived in several countries between 1933 and 1939, before finally settling in the United States in 1939...

, who was so impressed by the composer's First Symphony
Symphony No. 1 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 1 in F minor by Dmitri Shostakovich was written between 1924 and 1925, and first performed in Saint Petersburg by the Leningrad Philharmonic under Nikolai Malko on 12 May 1926...

 that he conducted it at its Berlin premiere later that year. Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Anthony Stokowski was a British-born, naturalised American orchestral conductor, well known for his free-hand performing style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from many of the great orchestras he conducted.In America, Stokowski...

 was equally impressed and gave the work its U.S. premiere the following year and also made the work's first recording.

Thereafter, Shostakovich concentrated on composition and soon limited performances primarily to those of his own works. In 1927 he wrote his Second Symphony
Symphony No. 2 (Shostakovich)
Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 2 in B major, Opus 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...

 (subtitled To October). While writing the symphony, he also began his satirical
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 opera The Nose
The Nose (opera)
The Nose is a satirical opera composed by Dmitri Shostakovich. The libretto by Shostakovich, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Georgy Ionin, and Alexander Preis is based on the story The Nose by Nikolai Gogol. The plot concerns a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own...

, based on the story by Gogol
Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a Ukrainian-born Russian dramatist and novelist.Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol's work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism...

. In June 1929, the opera was given a concert performance, against Shostakovich's own wishes, and was ferociously attacked by the Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians
Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians
The Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians or RAPM was a musicians' creative union of the early Soviet period.In 1932 it was disbanded, together with other unions, such as RAPP, by The Decree on the Reformation of Literary and Artistic Organizations on April 23, 1932....

 (RAPM). Its stage premiere on 18 January 1930 opened to generally poor reviews and widespread incomprehension amongst musicians.

1927 also marked the beginning of the composer's relationship with Ivan Sollertinsky
Ivan Sollertinsky
Ivan Ivanovich Sollertinsky was a Russian polymath of the Soviet period. He was an expert in theatre and Romance languages, but is best known for his musical career. He was a professor at the Leningrad Conservatory, as well as artistic director of the Leningrad Philharmonic...

, who remained his closest friend until the latter's death in 1944. Sollertinsky introduced Shostakovich to the music of Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

, which had a strong influence on his music from the Fourth Symphony
Symphony No. 4 (Shostakovich)
Dmitri Shostakovich composed his Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Opus 43, between September 1935 and May 1936, after abandoning some preliminary sketch material...

 onwards. In 1932, he married his first wife, Nina Varzar. Initial difficulties led to a divorce in 1935, but the couple soon remarried when Nina became pregnant with their first child.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s he worked at TRAM
Workers' Youth Theatre
Workers' Youth Theatre, also known as TRAM was a Soviet proletarian youth theatre of the late 1920s and early 1930s. It was established by Mikhail Sokolovsky in a converted cinema on Liteiny Prospekt, Leningrad. The theatre was run as a collective and produced agitprop pieces designed to educate...

, a proletarian youth theatre. Although he did little work in this post, it shielded him from ideological attack. Much of this period was spent writing his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (opera)
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is an opera in four acts by Dmitri Shostakovich, his Op.29. The libretto was written by Alexander Preis and the composer, and is based on the story Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov. The opera is sometimes referred to informally as Lady Macbeth...

; it was first performed in 1934 and was immediately successful, both on a popular and official level. It was described as, "the result of the general success of Socialist construction, of the correct policy of the Party" and said that such an opera “could have been written only by a Soviet composer brought up in the best tradition of Soviet culture.”

First denunciation


In 1936, Shostakovich fell from official favour. The year began with a series of attacks on him in Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

, in particular an article entitled "Muddle Instead of Music". Shostakovich was away on a concert tour in Arkhangel’sk when he heard news of the Pravda article. Two days before the article was published on the evening of 28 January, a friend advised Shostakovich to attend the Bolshoi Theatre production of his opera. When he arrived, he saw that Stalin and the Politburo were there. In letters written to Ivan Sollertinsky, a close friend and advisor, Shostakovich recounts the horror with which he watched as Stalin shuddered every time the brass and percussion played too loudly. Equally horrifying was the way Stalin and his companions laughed at the love-making scene between Sergei and Katerina. Eyewitness accounts testify that Shostakovich was “white as a sheet” when he went to take his bow after the third act.

The article, which condemned Lady Macbeth as formalist, "coarse, primitive and vulgar," was thought to have been instigated by Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

. Consequently, commissions began to fall off, and his income fell by about three quarters. Even Soviet music critics who had praised the opera were forced to recant in print, saying they "failed to detect the shortcomings of Lady Macbeth as pointed out by the Pravda". Shortly after the “Muddle Instead of Music” article, Pravda published another, “Ballet Falsehood,” that criticized Shostakovich’s ballet The Limpid Stream. Shostakovich did not expect this second article because the general public and press already accepted this music as “democratic", or tuneful and accessible. However, Pravda criticized The Limpid Stream for incorrectly displaying peasant life on the collective farm. According to the authorities, the reality of the collective farm was too serious a theme to be displayed in an opera.

Between the Fourth and Fifth symphonies during the years of 1936 and 1937, Shostakovich mainly composed film music in order to remain in Stalin’s favor. Stalin recognized that the popularity of Shostakovich’s music was useful as a propaganda tool, and therefore allowed him to continue composing. A public denunciation from the main party newspaper meant a death sentence. This naturally put Shostakovich in a state of high anxiety as he attempted to write the Fourth Symphony. Rehearsal of the Fourth Symphony
Symphony No. 4 (Shostakovich)
Dmitri Shostakovich composed his Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Opus 43, between September 1935 and May 1936, after abandoning some preliminary sketch material...

 began that December, but the political climate made performance impossible. It was not performed until 1961, but Shostakovich did not repudiate the work: it retained its designation as his Fourth Symphony. A piano reduction was published in 1946.

More widely, 1936 marked the beginning of the Great Terror
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

, in which many of the composer's friends and relatives were imprisoned or killed. His only consolation in this period was the birth of his daughter Galina in 1936; his son Maxim
Maxim Shostakovich
Maxim Dmitrievich Shostakovich is a Russian conductor and pianist. He was the second child of Dmitri Shostakovich and Nina Varzar.Since 1975, he has conducted and popularised many of his father's lesser-known works....

 was born two years later.

The composer's response to his denunciation was the Fifth Symphony
Symphony No. 5 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, by Dmitri Shostakovich is a work for orchestra composed between April and July 1937. Its first performance was on November 21, 1937, in Leningrad by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky...

 of 1937, which was, because of its fourth movement, musically more conservative than his earlier works. Premiering on 21 November 1937 in Leningrad, it was immensely popular and the success put Shostakovich in good standing once again. Even the authorities accepted it, and soon the piece was commissioned to be a part of the celebrations for the Twentieth Anniversary of the Revolution. Those who had earlier accused Shostakovich of formalism claimed that he had learned from his mistakes and had become a true Soviet artist. For example, fellow composer Dmitry Kabalevsky, who was among those who disassociated himself from Shostakovich when the Pravda article was published, praised the Fifth Symphony and congratulated Shostakovich for “not having given into the seductive temptations of his previous ‘erroneous’ ways.”

It was also at this time that Shostakovich composed the first of his string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

s. His chamber
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

 works allowed him to experiment and express ideas which would have been unacceptable in his more public symphonic pieces. In September 1937, he began to teach composition at the Conservatory, which provided some financial security but interfered with his own creative work.

War


In 1939, before the Soviet forces invaded Finland
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

, the Party Secretary of Leningrad Andrei Zhdanov
Andrei Zhdanov
Andrei Alexandrovich Zhdanov was a Soviet politician.-Life:Zhdanov enlisted with the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1915 and was promoted through the party ranks, becoming the All-Union Communist Party manager in Leningrad after the assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934...

 commissioned a celebratory piece from Shostakovich, entitled Suite on Finnish Themes
Suite on Finnish Themes
The Suite on Finnish Themes or Seven Arrangements of Finnish Folk Songs is a suite composed in 1939 for soloists and chamber ensemble in seven movements by the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich...

to be performed as the marching bands of the Red Army would be parading through the Finnish capital Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

. The Winter War was a humiliation for the Red Army, and Shostakovich would never lay claim to the authorship of this work. It was not performed until 2001.

After the outbreak of war between the Soviet Union and Germany
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

 in 1941, Shostakovich initially remained in Leningrad. He tried to enlist for the military but was turned away because he had bad eyesight. To compensate, Shostakovich became a volunteer for the Leningrad Conservatory’s firefighter brigade and delivered a radio broadcast to the Soviet people . The photograph for which he posed was published in newspapers throughout the country.

But his greatest and most famous wartime contribution was the Seventh Symphony
Symphony No. 7 (Shostakovich)
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 dedicated to the city of Leningrad was completed on 27 December 1941. In its time, the symphony was extremely popular in both Russia and the West as a symbol of resistance and defiance to Nazi totalitarianism and militarism...

. The composer wrote the first three movements in Leningrad and completed the work in Kuibyshev, now a settlement in Volgograd Oblast, where he and his family had been evacuated. Whether or not Shostakovich really conceived the idea of the symphony with the siege of Leningrad in mind, it was officially claimed as a representation of the people of Leningrad’s brave resistance to the German invaders and an authentic piece of patriotic art at a time when morale needed boosting. The symphony was first premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and was soon performed abroad in London and the United States. However, the most compelling performance was by the Radio Orchestra in besieged Leningrad. The orchestra only had fourteen musicians left, so the conductor Karl Eliasberg had to recruit anyone who could play a musical instrument to perform the symphony.

In spring 1943, the family moved to Moscow. At the time of the Eighth Symphony's premiere, the tide had turned for the Red Army. Therefore the public, and most importantly the authorities, wanted another triumphant piece from the composer. Instead, they got the Eighth Symphony. While the Seventh Symphony depicts a heroic (and ultimately victorious) struggle against adversity, the Eighth Symphony
Symphony No. 8 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 8 in C minor by Dmitri Shostakovich was written in the summer of 1943, and first performed on November 4 of that year by the USSR Symphony Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky, to whom the work is dedicated....

 of that year is perhaps the ultimate in sombre and violent expression within Shostakovich's output, resulting in it being banned until 1956.

The Ninth Symphony
Symphony No. 9 (Shostakovich)
Symphony No. 9 in E flat major, Op. 70 was composed by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1945. It was premiered on 3 November 1945 in Leningrad by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Evgeny Mravinsky.-Composition:...

 (1945), in contrast, is an ironic Haydnesque parody, which failed to satisfy demands for a "hymn of victory." The war was won, and unfortunately Shostakovich’s “pretty” symphony was interpreted as a mockery of the Soviet Union’s victory rather than a celebratory piece. Shostakovich continued to compose chamber music, notably his Second Piano Trio
Piano Trio No. 2 (Shostakovich)
The Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67, by Dmitri Shostakovich was written in 1944, in the midst of World War II.-Composition history:The composition was dedicated to Shostakovich's good friend, Ivan Sollertinsky, a Russian polymath and avid musician, who had recently died at age 41. The work...

 (Op. 67), dedicated to the memory of Sollertinsky, with a bitter-sweet, Jewish-themed totentanz finale.

Second denunciation


In 1948 Shostakovich, along with many other composers, was again denounced for formalism in the Zhdanov decree
Zhdanov Doctrine
The Zhdanov Doctrine was a Soviet cultural doctrine developed by the Central Committee secretary Andrei Zhdanov in 1946. It proposed that the world was divided into two camps: the imperialistic, headed by the United States; and democratic, headed by the Soviet Union...

. Andrei Zhdanov, Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, teamed up with the General Secretary of the Composer’s Union, Tikhon Khrennikov, to accuse Shostakovich and other composers (such as Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitry Kabalevsky) for writing inappropriate and formalist music. The conference resulted in the publication of the Central Committee’s Decree “On V. Muradeli’s opera The Great Friendship,” which was targeted towards all Soviet composers and demanded that they only write “proletarian” music, or music for the masses. The accused composers, including Shostakovich, were summoned to make public apologies in front of the committee. Most of Shostakovich's works were banned, he was forced to publicly repent, and his family had privileges withdrawn. Yuri Lyubimov
Yuri Lyubimov
Yuri Petrovich Lyubimov is a Soviet and Russian stage actor and director associated with the internationally-renowned Taganka Theatre which he founded ,...

 says that at this time "he waited for his arrest at night out on the landing by the lift, so that at least his family wouldn't be disturbed."
The consequences of the decree for composers were harsh. Shostakovich was among those who were dismissed from the Conservatoire altogether. For Shostakovich, the loss of money was perhaps the largest blow. Others still in the Conservatory experienced an atmosphere that was thick with suspicion. No one wanted their work to be understood as formalist, so many resorted to accusing their colleagues of writing or performing anti-proletarian music.

In the next few years his compositions were divided into film music to pay the rent, official works aimed at securing official rehabilitation
Rehabilitation (Soviet)
Rehabilitation in the context of the former Soviet Union, and the Post-Soviet states, was the restoration of a person who was criminally prosecuted without due basis, to the state of acquittal...

, and serious works "for the desk drawer". The latter included the Violin Concerto No. 1
Violin Concerto No. 1 (Shostakovich)
The Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Opus 99, was originally written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1947-48. He was still working on the piece at the time of the Zhdanov decree, and in the period following the composer's denunciation the work could not be performed...

 and the song cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry
From Jewish Folk Poetry
From Jewish Folk Poetry is a song cycle for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and piano by Dmitri Shostakovich. It uses texts taken from archives of Jewish folk music compiled and translated by Moyshe Beregovsky and Y. M. Sokolov....

.
The cycle was written at a time when the post-war anti-Semitic campaign was already under way, and Shostakovich had close ties with some of those affected.

The restrictions on Shostakovich's music and living arrangements were eased in 1949, to secure his participation in a delegation of Soviet notables to the U.S. That year he also wrote his cantata
Cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

 Song of the Forests
Song of the Forests
Dmitri Shostakovich composed his oratorio The Song of the Forests, Op. 81, in the summer of 1949. It was written to celebrate the forestation of the Russian steppes following the end of World War II...

,
which praised Stalin as the "great gardener." In 1951 the composer was made a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR. Stalin's death in 1953 was the biggest step towards Shostakovich's official rehabilitation, which was marked by his Tenth Symphony
Symphony No. 10 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 10 in E minor by Dmitri Shostakovich was premiered by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky on 17 December 1953, following the death of Joseph Stalin in March that year...

. It features a number of musical quotations and codes (notably the DSCH
DSCH (Dmitri Shostakovich)
DSCH is a musical motif used by the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich to represent himself. It is a musical cryptogram in the manner of the BACH motif, consisting of the notes D, E flat, C, B natural, or in German musical notation D, Es, C, H , thus standing for the composer's initials in German...

 and Elmira motifs), the meaning of which is still debated, whilst the savage second movement is said to be a musical portrait of Stalin himself. It ranks alongside the Fifth and Seventh as one of his most popular works. 1953 also saw a stream of premieres of the "desk drawer" works.

During the forties and fifties Shostakovich had close relationships with two of his pupils: Galina Ustvolskaya
Galina Ustvolskaya
Galina Ivanovna Ustvolskaya, also Ustwolskaja or Oustvolskaia was a Russian composer of classical music.-Early years:From 1937 to 1947 she studied at the college attached to the Leningrad Conservatory . She subsequently became a postgraduate student and taught composition at the college...

 and Elmira Nazirova. He taught Ustvolskaya from 1937 to 1947. The nature of their relationship is far from clear: Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of...

 described it as "tender" and Ustvolskaya claimed in a 1995 interview that she rejected a proposal of marriage from him in the fifties. However, in the same interview, Ustvolskaya's friend, Viktor Suslin, said that she had been "deeply disappointed" in him by the time of her graduation in 1947. The relationship with Nazirova seems to have been one-sided, expressed largely through his letters to her, and can be dated to around 1953 to 1956. In the background to all this remained Shostakovich's first, open marriage to Nina Varzar until her death in 1954. He married his second wife, Komsomol
Komsomol
The Communist Union of Youth , usually known as Komsomol , was the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Komsomol in its earliest form was established in urban centers in 1918. During the early years, it was a Russian organization, known as the Russian Communist Union of...

 activist Margarita Kainova, in 1956; the couple proved ill-matched, and divorced three years later.

In 1954, Shostakovich wrote the Festive Overture, opus 96, that was used as the theme music for the 1980 Summer Olympics
1980 Summer Olympics
The 1980 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Moscow in the Soviet Union. In addition, the yachting events were held in Tallinn, and some of the preliminary matches and the quarter-finals of the football tournament...

. In addition his '"Theme from the film Pirogov
Pirogov
Pirogov , or Pirogova is a Russian surname and may refer to:People*Alexander Pirogov , Russian Soviet opera singer*Grigory Pirogov , Russian Soviet opera singer...

, Opus 76a: Finale" was played as the cauldron was lit at the 2004 Summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics
The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece from August 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

 in Athens, Greece.

In 1959, Shostakovich appeared on stage in Moscow at the end of a concert performance of his Fifth Symphony, congratulating Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

 and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for their performance (part of a concert tour of the Soviet Union). Bernstein recorded the symphony later that year in New York for Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

.

Joining the Party


The year 1960 marked another turning point in Shostakovich's life: his joining of the Communist Party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

. The government wanted to appoint him General Secretary of the Composer’s Union, but in order to hold that position Shostakovich was required to attain Party membership. It was understood that Nikita Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party from 1958 to 1964, was looking for support from the leading ranks of the intelligentsia in an effort to create a better relationship with the Soviet Union’s artists. This event has been interpreted variously as a show of commitment, a mark of cowardice, the result of political pressure, and as his free decision. On the one hand, the apparat
Apparatchik
Apparatchik is a Russian colloquial term for a full-time, professional functionary of the Communist Party or government; i.e., an agent of the governmental or party "apparat" that held any position of bureaucratic or political responsibility, with the exception of the higher ranks of management...

 was undoubtedly less repressive than it had been before Stalin's death. On the other, his son recalled that the event reduced Shostakovich to tears, and he later told his wife Irina that he had been blackmailed. Lev Lebedinsky
Lev Lebedinsky
Lev Lebedinsky was a Russian musicologist.He is perhaps most well known today as a friend and oft-quoted confidant of composer Dmitry Shostakovich...

 has said that the composer was suicidal. Once he joined the Party, several articles denouncing individualism in music were published in Pravda under his name, though he did not actually write them. In addition, in joining the party, Shostakovich was also committing himself to finally writing the homage to Lenin that he had promised before. His Twelfth Symphony, which portrays the Bolshevik Revolution and was completed in 1961, was dedicated to Vladimir Lenin and called “The Year 1917.” Around this time, his health also began to deteriorate.
Shostakovich's musical response to these personal crises was the Eighth String Quartet
String Quartet No. 8 (Shostakovich)
Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 in C minor was written in three days . It was premiered that year in Leningrad by the Beethoven Quartet....

, composed in only three days. The Eighth String Quartet was written for the survivors of the Dresden fire bombing that took place in 1945. Shostakovich subtitled the piece, "To the victims of fascism and war." Like the Tenth Symphony, this quartet incorporates quotations
Musical quotation
Musical quotation is the practice of directly quoting another work in a new composition. The quotation may be from the same composer's work , or from a different composer's work ....

 and his musical monogram.

In 1962 he married for the third time, to Irina Supinskaya. In a letter to his friend Isaak Glikman, he wrote, "her only defect is that she is 27 years old. In all other respects she is splendid: clever, cheerful, straightforward and very likeable." According to Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya is a Russian soprano opera singer and recitalist who was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1966.-Biography:...

, who knew the Shostakoviches well, this marriage was a very happy one: "It was with her that Dmitri Dmitriyevich finally came to know domestic peace... Surely, she prolonged his life by several years." In November Shostakovich made his only venture into conducting, conducting a couple of his own works in Gorky
Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod , colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is, with the population of 1,250,615, the fifth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg...

: otherwise he declined to conduct, citing nerves and ill health as his reasons.

That year saw Shostakovich again turn to the subject of anti-Semitism in his Thirteenth Symphony
Symphony No. 13 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor by Dmitri Shostakovich was first performed in Moscow on 18 December, 1962 by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and the basses of the Republican State and Gnessin Institute Choirs, under Kirill Kondrashin . The soloist was Vitali Gromadsky...

 (subtitled Babi Yar
Babi Yar
Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and a site of a series of massacres carried out by the Nazis during their campaign against the Soviet Union. The most notorious and the best documented of these massacres took place on September 29–30, 1941, wherein 33,771 Jews were killed in a...

). The symphony sets a number of poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko is a Soviet and Russian poet. He is also a novelist, essayist, dramatist, screenwriter, actor, editor, and a director of several films.-Early life:...

, the first of which commemorates a massacre of the Jews during the Second World War. Opinions are divided how great a risk this was: the poem had been published in Soviet media, and was not banned, but it remained controversial. After the symphony's premiere, Yevtushenko was forced to add a stanza to his poem which said that Russians and Ukrainians had died alongside the Jews at Babi Yar.

In 1965 Shostakovich raised his voice in defense of poet Joseph Brodsky
Joseph Brodsky
Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky , was a Russian poet and essayist.In 1964, 23-year-old Brodsky was arrested and charged with the crime of "social parasitism" He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters...

, who was sentenced to five years of exile and hard labor. Shostakovich co-signed protests together with Yevtushenko and fellow Soviet artists Kornei Chukovsky, Anna Akhmatova
Anna Akhmatova
Anna Andreyevna Gorenko , better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova , was a Russian and Soviet modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon.Harrington p11...

, Samuil Marshak
Samuil Marshak
Samuil Yakovlevich Marshak was a Russian and Soviet writer, translator and children's poet. Among his Russian translations are William Shakespeare's sonnets, poems by William Blake and Robert Burns, and Rudyard Kipling's stories. Maxim Gorky proclaimed Marshak to be "the founder of [Russia's ]...

, and the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

. After the protests the sentence was commuted, and Brodsky returned to Leningrad. Shostakovich joined the group of 25 distinguished intellectuals in signing the letter to Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

 asking not to rehabilitate Stalin.

Later life



In later life, Shostakovich suffered from chronic ill health, but he resisted giving up cigarettes and vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

. Beginning in 1958 he suffered from a debilitating condition that particularly affected his right hand, eventually forcing him to give up piano playing; in 1965 it was diagnosed as polio. He also suffered heart attacks
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 the following year and again in 1971, and several falls in which he broke both his legs; in 1967 he wrote in a letter:

"Target achieved so far: 75% (right leg broken, left leg broken, right hand defective). All I need to do now is wreck the left hand and then 100% of my extremities will be out of order."

A preoccupation with his own mortality permeates Shostakovich's later works, among them the later quartets and the Fourteenth Symphony
Symphony No. 14 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 14 by Dmitri Shostakovich was completed in the spring of 1969, and was premiered later that year. It is a sombre work for soprano, bass and a small string orchestra with percussion, consisting of eleven linked settings of poems by four authors. Most of the poems deal with the...

 of 1969 (a song cycle based on a number of poems on the theme of death). This piece also finds Shostakovich at his most extreme with musical language, with twelve-tone themes and dense polyphony used throughout. Shostakovich dedicated this score to his close friend Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

, who conducted its Western premiere at the 1970 Aldeburgh Festival
Aldeburgh Festival
The Aldeburgh Festival is an English arts festival devoted mainly to classical music. It takes place each June in the Aldeburgh area of Suffolk, centred on the main concert hall at Snape Maltings...

. The Fifteenth Symphony
Symphony No. 15 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 15 in A major , Dmitri Shostakovich's last, was written in a little over a month during the summer of 1971 in Repino. It was first performed in Moscow on 8 January 1972 by the All-Union Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra under Maxim Shostakovich.-Form:The work has four...

 of 1971 is, by contrast, melodic and retrospective in nature, quoting Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

, Rossini and the composer's own Fourth Symphony.

Shostakovich died of lung cancer on 9 August 1975 and after a civic funeral was interred in the Novodevichy Cemetery
Novodevichy Cemetery
Novodevichy Cemetery is the most famous cemetery in Moscow, Russia. It is next to the 16th-century Novodevichy Convent, which is the city's third most popular tourist site. It should not be confused with the Novodevichy Cemetery in Saint Petersburg....

, Moscow. Even before his death he had been commemorated with the naming of the Shostakovich Peninsula on Alexander Island
Alexander Island
Alexander Island or Alexander I Island or Alexander I Land or Alexander Land is the largest island of Antarctica, with an area of lying in the Bellingshausen Sea west of the base of the Antarctic Peninsula, from which it is separated by Marguerite Bay and George VI Sound. Alexander Island lies off...

, Antarctica.

He was survived by his third wife, Irina; his daughter, Galina; and his son, Maxim
Maxim Shostakovich
Maxim Dmitrievich Shostakovich is a Russian conductor and pianist. He was the second child of Dmitri Shostakovich and Nina Varzar.Since 1975, he has conducted and popularised many of his father's lesser-known works....

, a pianist and conductor who was the dedicatee and first performer of some of his father's works. Shostakovich himself left behind several recordings of his own piano works, while other noted interpreters of his music include his friends Emil Gilels
Emil Gilels
Emil Grigoryevich Gilels was a Soviet pianist, widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.His last name is sometimes transliterated Hilels.-Biography:...

, Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of...

, Tatiana Nikolayeva
Tatiana Nikolayeva
Tatiana Petrovna Nikolayeva was a Russian Soviet pianist, composer and teacher.-Early life:Nikolayeva was born in Bezhitsa in the Bryansk district on May 4, 1924...

, Maria Yudina
Maria Yudina
Maria Veniaminovna Yudina was an influential Soviet pianist.Yudina was born to a Jewish family in Nevel, Russia. She studied at the Petrograd Conservatory under Anna Yesipova and Leonid Vladimirovich Nikolayev. She also briefly studied privately with Felix Blumenfeld. Her classmates included...

, David Oistrakh
David Oistrakh
David Fyodorovich Oistrakh , , David Fiodorović Ojstrakh, ; – October 24, 1974, was a Soviet violinist....

, and members of the Beethoven Quartet
Beethoven Quartet
The Beethoven Quartet was founded between 1922 and 1923 by graduates of the Moscow Conservatory: violinists Dmitri Tsyganov and Vasily Shirinsky, violist Vadim Borisovsky and cellist Sergei Shirinsky...

.

Shostakovich's opera Orango (1932) was found by Russian researcher Olga Digonskaya in his last home. It is being orchestrated by the British composer Gerard McBurney
Gerard McBurney
Gerard McBurney — British composer, arranger, broadcaster, teacher and writer.Born 20 June 1954, in Cambridge, England. He is the son of Charles McBurney, an American archaeologist, and Anne Francis Edmondstone , who was a British secretary of English, Scots, and Irish ancestry...

 and will be premiered in December 2011 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Shostakovich's musical influence on later composers outside the former Soviet Union has been relatively slight, although Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke ; November 24, 1934 – August 3, 1998) was a Russian and Soviet composer. Schnittke's early music shows the strong influence of Dmitri Shostakovich. He developed a polystylistic technique in works such as the epic First Symphony and First Concerto Grosso...

 took up his eclecticism, and his contrasts between the dynamic and the static, and some of André Previn
André Previn
André George Previn, KBE is an American pianist, conductor, and composer. He is considered one of the most versatile musicians in the world, and is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings. -Early Life:Previn was born in...

's music shows clear links to Shostakovich's style of orchestration. His influence can also be seen in some Nordic composers, such as Lars-Erik Larsson
Lars-Erik Larsson
Lars-Erik Larsson was a notable Swedish composer of the 20th century.-Biography:Lars-Erik Vilner Larsson was born in Åkarp in 1908...

. Many of his Russian contemporaries, and his pupils at the Leningrad Conservatory
Saint Petersburg Conservatory
The N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory is a music school in Saint Petersburg. In 2004, the conservatory had around 275 faculty members and 1,400 students.-History:...

, however, were strongly influenced by his style (including German Okunev
German Okunev
German Grigoryevich Okunev was a Soviet Russian composer, pianist and teacher.-Life:Okunev's father was an engineer; his mother was a dressmaker. From the age of 8 he attended a musical school in Leningrad. He graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Leningrad, where he studied with O...

, Boris Tishchenko
Boris Tishchenko
Boris Ivanovich Tishchenko was a Russian and Soviet composer and pianist.-Life:...

, whose 5th Symphony of 1978 is dedicated to Shostakovich's memory, Sergei Slonimsky
Sergei Slonimsky
Sergei Mikhailovich Slonimsky is a Russian and Soviet composer, pianist and musicologist.-Biography:He is a son of Soviet writer Mikhail Slonimsky and a nephew of the Russian-American composer Nicolas Slonimsky. He studied at the Musical College in Moscow from 1943 until 1950. From 1950 Slonimsky...

, and others). Shostakovich's conservative idiom has nonetheless grown increasingly popular with audiences both within and beyond Russia, as the avant-garde has declined in influence and debate about his political views has developed.

Music

For a complete list, see List of compositions by Dmitri Shostakovich.
See also: :Category:Compositions by Dmitri Shostakovich (thematical selection of works by Shostakovich).


Shostakovich's works are broadly tonal
Tonality
Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

 and in the Romantic
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 tradition, but with elements of atonality
Atonality
Atonality in its broadest sense describes music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality in this sense usually describes compositions written from about 1908 to the present day where a hierarchy of pitches focusing on a single, central tone is not used, and the notes of the chromatic scale...

 and chromaticism
Chromatic scale
The chromatic scale is a musical scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone apart. On a modern piano or other equal-tempered instrument, all the half steps are the same size...

. In some of his later works (e.g., the Twelfth Quartet
String Quartet No. 12 (Shostakovich)
Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 12 in D flat major was composed in 1968. It is dedicated to Dmitry Tsyganov, the first violin of the Beethoven Quartet, which premiered the work....

), he made use of tone row
Tone row
In music, a tone row or note row , also series and set, refers to a non-repetitive ordering of a set of pitch-classes, typically of the twelve notes in musical set theory of the chromatic scale, though both larger and smaller sets are sometimes found.-History and usage:Tone rows are the basis of...

s. His output is dominated by his cycles of symphonies and string quartets, each numbering fifteen. The symphonies are distributed fairly evenly throughout his career, while the quartets are concentrated towards the latter part. Among the most popular are the Fifth
Symphony No. 5 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, by Dmitri Shostakovich is a work for orchestra composed between April and July 1937. Its first performance was on November 21, 1937, in Leningrad by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky...

 and Seventh
Symphony No. 7 (Shostakovich)
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 dedicated to the city of Leningrad was completed on 27 December 1941. In its time, the symphony was extremely popular in both Russia and the West as a symbol of resistance and defiance to Nazi totalitarianism and militarism...

 Symphonies and the Eighth
String Quartet No. 8 (Shostakovich)
Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 in C minor was written in three days . It was premiered that year in Leningrad by the Beethoven Quartet....

 and Fifteenth
String Quartet No. 15 (Shostakovich)
The String Quartet No. 15 in E flat minor was Dmitri Shostakovich's last quartet. It was completed on 17 May 1974 and premiered in Leningrad by the Taneyev Quartet on 15 November...

 Quartets. Other works include the operas Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (opera)
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is an opera in four acts by Dmitri Shostakovich, his Op.29. The libretto was written by Alexander Preis and the composer, and is based on the story Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov. The opera is sometimes referred to informally as Lady Macbeth...

, The Nose
The Nose (opera)
The Nose is a satirical opera composed by Dmitri Shostakovich. The libretto by Shostakovich, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Georgy Ionin, and Alexander Preis is based on the story The Nose by Nikolai Gogol. The plot concerns a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own...

and the unfinished The Gamblers based on the comedy of Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a Ukrainian-born Russian dramatist and novelist.Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol's work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism...

; six concertos (two each for piano, violin and cello); two piano trios; and a large quantity of film music.

Shostakovich's music shows the influence of many of the composers he most admired: Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 in his fugue
Fugue
In music, a fugue is a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition....

s and passacaglia
Passacaglia
The passacaglia is a musical form that originated in early seventeenth-century Spain and is still used by contemporary composers. It is usually of a serious character and is often, but not always, based on a bass-ostinato and written in triple metre....

s; Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

 in the late quartet
Quartet
In music, a quartet is a method of instrumentation , used to perform a musical composition, and consisting of four parts.-Western art music:...

s; Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

 in the symphonies and Berg
Alban Berg
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.-Early life:Berg was born in...

 in his use of musical codes and quotations
Musical quotation
Musical quotation is the practice of directly quoting another work in a new composition. The quotation may be from the same composer's work , or from a different composer's work ....

. Among Russian composers, he particularly admired Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was a Russian composer, one of the group known as 'The Five'. He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period...

, whose operas Boris Godunov
Boris Godunov (opera)
Boris Godunov is an opera by Modest Mussorgsky . The work was composed between 1868 and 1873 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is Mussorgsky's only completed opera and is considered his masterpiece. Its subjects are the Russian ruler Boris Godunov, who reigned as Tsar during the Time of Troubles,...

and Khovanshchina
Khovanshchina
Khovanshchina is an opera in five acts by Modest Mussorgsky. The work was written between 1872 and 1880 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The composer wrote the libretto based on historical sources...

he re-orchestrated
Orchestration
Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra or of adapting for orchestra music composed for another medium...

; Mussorgsky's influence is most prominent in the wintry scenes of Lady Macbeth and the Eleventh Symphony
Symphony No. 11 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 11 in G minor by Dmitri Shostakovich was written in 1957 and premiered by the USSR Symphony Orchestra under Natan Rakhlin on 30 October 1957...

, as well as in his satirical works such as "Rayok
Rayok (Shostakovich)
Anti-Formalist Rayok , without opus number, also known as simply Rayok , The Peep-show, Little Paradise, The Gods and A Learner's Manual) is a satirical cantata for four voices, chorus and piano by Dmitri Shostakovich. Its title derives from Modest Mussorgsky's work Rayok...

". Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century...

's influence is most apparent in the earlier piano works, such as the first sonata and first concerto
Piano Concerto No. 1 (Shostakovich)
The Concerto in C minor for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra, Op. 35, was completed by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1933 and premiered the same year by the composer at the piano and the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. Despite the title, it is a true piano concerto rather than a double concerto in...

. The influence of Russian church and folk music is very evident in his works for unaccompanied choir of the 1950s.

Shostakovich's relationship with Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

 was profoundly ambivalent; as he wrote to Glikman, "Stravinsky the composer I worship. Stravinsky the thinker I despise." He was particularly enamoured of the Symphony of Psalms
Symphony of Psalms
The Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky was written in 1930 and was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This piece is a three-movement choral symphony and was composed during Stravinsky's neoclassical period. The symphony derives...

, presenting a copy of his own piano version of it to Stravinsky when the latter visited the USSR in 1962. (The meeting of the two composers was not very successful, however; observers commented on Shostakovich's extreme nervousness and Stravinsky's "cruelty" to him.)

Many commentators have noted the disjunction between the experimental works before the 1936 denunciation and the more conservative ones that followed; the composer told Flora Litvinova, "without 'Party guidance' ... I would have displayed more brilliance, used more sarcasm, I could have revealed my ideas openly instead of having to resort to camouflage." Articles published by Shostakovich in 1934 and 1935 cited Berg
Alban Berg
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.-Early life:Berg was born in...

, Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School...

, Krenek
Ernst Krenek
Ernst Krenek was an Austrian of Czech origin and, from 1945, American composer. He explored atonality and other modern styles and wrote a number of books, including Music Here and Now , a study of Johannes Ockeghem , and Horizons Circled: Reflections on my Music...

, Hindemith
Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, music theorist and conductor.- Biography :Born in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Hindemith was taught the violin as a child...

, "and especially Stravinsky" among his influences. Key works of the earlier period are the First Symphony
Symphony No. 1 (Shostakovich)
The Symphony No. 1 in F minor by Dmitri Shostakovich was written between 1924 and 1925, and first performed in Saint Petersburg by the Leningrad Philharmonic under Nikolai Malko on 12 May 1926...

, which combined the academicism of the conservatory with his progressive inclinations; The Nose
The Nose (opera)
The Nose is a satirical opera composed by Dmitri Shostakovich. The libretto by Shostakovich, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Georgy Ionin, and Alexander Preis is based on the story The Nose by Nikolai Gogol. The plot concerns a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own...

("The most uncompromisingly modernist of all his stage-works"); Lady Macbeth
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (opera)
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is an opera in four acts by Dmitri Shostakovich, his Op.29. The libretto was written by Alexander Preis and the composer, and is based on the story Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov. The opera is sometimes referred to informally as Lady Macbeth...

.
which precipitated the denunciation; and the Fourth Symphony
Symphony No. 4 (Shostakovich)
Dmitri Shostakovich composed his Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Opus 43, between September 1935 and May 1936, after abandoning some preliminary sketch material...

, described by Grove as "a colossal synthesis of Shostakovich's musical development to date". The Fourth Symphony was also the first in which the influence of Mahler came to the fore, prefiguring the route Shostakovich was to take to secure his rehabilitation, while he himself admitted that the preceding two were his least successful.

In the years after 1936, Shostakovich's symphonic works were outwardly musically conservative, regardless of any subversive political content. During this time he turned increasingly to chamber
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

 works, a field that permitted the composer to explore different and often darker ideas without inviting external scrutiny. While his chamber works were largely tonal, they gave Shostakovich an outlet for sombre reflection not welcomed in his more public works. This is most apparent in the late chamber works, which portray what Groves has described as a "world of purgatorial
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

 numbness"; in some of these he included the use of tone row
Tone row
In music, a tone row or note row , also series and set, refers to a non-repetitive ordering of a set of pitch-classes, typically of the twelve notes in musical set theory of the chromatic scale, though both larger and smaller sets are sometimes found.-History and usage:Tone rows are the basis of...

s, although he treated these as melodic themes rather than serially
Serialism
In music, serialism is a method or technique of composition that uses a series of values to manipulate different musical elements. Serialism began primarily with Arnold Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique, though his contemporaries were also working to establish serialism as one example of...

. Vocal works are also a prominent feature of his late output, setting texts often concerned with love, death and art.

Jewish themes


Even before the Stalinist anti-Semitic campaigns in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Shostakovich showed an interest in Jewish themes. He was intrigued by Jewish music
Jewish music
Jewish music is the music and melodies of the Jewish People which have evolved over time throughout the long course of Jewish History. In some instances Jewish Music is of a religious nature, spiritual songs and refrains are common in Jewish Services throughout the world, while other times, it is...

’s “ability to build a jolly melody on sad intonations.” Examples of works that included Jewish themes are the Fourth String Quartet (1949), the First Violin Concerto (1948), and the Four Monologues on Pushkin Poems (1952). He was further inspired to write with Jewish themes when he examined Moiser Beregovsky’s thesis on the theme of Jewish folk music in 1946.

In 1948, Shostakovich acquired a book of Jewish folk songs, and from this he composed the song cycle From Jewish Poetry. He initially wrote eight songs that were meant to represent the hardships of being Jewish in the Soviet Union. However in order to disguise this, Shostakovich ended up adding three more songs meant to demonstrate the great life Jews had under the Soviet regime. Despite his efforts to hide the real meaning in the work, the Union of Composers refused to approve his music in 1949 under the pressure of the anti-Semitism that gripped the country. From Jewish Poetry could not be performed until after Stalin’s death in March 1953, along with all the other works that were forbidden.

Criticism


According to Shostakovich scholar Gerard McBurney, opinion is divided on whether his music is "of visionary power and originality, as some maintain, or, as others think, derivative, trashy, empty and second-hand." William Walton
William Walton
Sir William Turner Walton OM was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera...

, his British contemporary, described him as "The greatest composer of the 20th century." Musicologist David Fanning
David Fanning (musicologist)
David Fanning is a professor of music at the University of Manchester. He is an expert on the music of Dmitri Shostakovich, Carl Nielsen and Soviet music...

 concludes in Grove that, "Amid the conflicting pressures of official requirements, the mass suffering of his fellow countrymen, and his personal ideals of humanitarian and public service, he succeeded in forging a musical language of colossal emotional power."

Some modern composers have been critical. Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez is a French composer of contemporary classical music, a pianist, and a conductor.-Early years:Boulez was born in Montbrison, Loire, France. As a child he began piano lessons and demonstrated aptitude in both music and mathematics...

 dismissed Shostakovich's music as "the second, or even third pressing of Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

." The Romanian composer and Webern
Anton Webern
Anton Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student and significant follower of Arnold Schoenberg, he became one of the best-known exponents of the twelve-tone technique; in addition, his innovations regarding schematic organization of...

 disciple Philip Gershkovich called Shostakovich "a hack in a trance." A related complaint is that Shostakovich's style is vulgar and strident: Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

 wrote of Lady Macbeth
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (opera)
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is an opera in four acts by Dmitri Shostakovich, his Op.29. The libretto was written by Alexander Preis and the composer, and is based on the story Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov. The opera is sometimes referred to informally as Lady Macbeth...

: "brutally hammering ... and monotonous." English composer and musicologist Robin Holloway
Robin Holloway
Robin Greville Holloway is an English composer.-Early life:From 1952 to 1957, he was a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral...

 described his music as "battleship-grey in melody and harmony, factory-functional in structure; in content all rhetoric and coercion."

In the 1980s, the Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen
Esa-Pekka Salonen
Esa-Pekka Salonen is a Finnish orchestral conductor and composer. He is currently Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and Conductor Laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.-Early career:...

 was critical of Shostakovich and refused to conduct his music. For instance, he said in 1987:
"Shostakovich is in many ways a polar counter-force for Stravinsky. [...] When I have said that the 7th symphony of Shostakovich is a dull and unpleasant composition, people have responded: 'Yes, yes, but think of the background of that symphony.' Such an attitude does no good to anyone."


It is certainly true that Shostakovich borrows extensively from the material and styles both of earlier composers and of popular music
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

; the vulgarity of "low" music is a notable influence on this "greatest of eclectics". McBurney traces this to the avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 artistic circles of the early Soviet period in which Shostakovich moved early in his career, and argues that these borrowings were a deliberate technique to allow him to create "patterns of contrast, repetition, exaggeration" that gave his music the large-scale structure it required.

Women's Rights


Shostakovich's works have quite a few social justice
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

 themes. For example, in Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (opera)
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is an opera in four acts by Dmitri Shostakovich, his Op.29. The libretto was written by Alexander Preis and the composer, and is based on the story Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov. The opera is sometimes referred to informally as Lady Macbeth...

, the protagonist is doomed by the patriarchal society, and the opera ends with her tragic death. Shostakovich's close friend Galina Rostropovich wrote the opera, and he composed it. Shostakovich had actually been brought up with feminism; his godmother, Klavdia Lukashevich, was a feminist activist and was also a powerful influence on the young Dmitri Shostakovich.

Personality



Shostakovich was in many ways an obsessive man: according to his daughter he was "obsessed with cleanliness"; he synchronised the clocks in his apartment; he regularly sent cards to himself to test how well the postal service was working. Elizabeth Wilson's Shostakovich: A Life Remembered (1994 edition) indexes 26 references to his nervousness. Mikhail Druskin remembers that even as a young man the composer was "fragile and nervously agile". Yuri Lyubimov comments, "The fact that he was more vulnerable and receptive than other people was no doubt an important feature of his genius". In later life, Krzysztof Meyer
Krzysztof Meyer
Krzysztof Meyer is a Polish composer, pianist and music scholar.-Biography:Meyer was born in Cracow. As a boy he played piano and organ. He began his composition study early – in 1954, with Stanisław Wiechowicz...

 recalled, "his face was a bag of tics and grimaces".
In his lighter moods, sport was one of his main recreations, although he preferred spectating or umpiring to participating (he was a qualified football referee). His favourite football club was Zenit Leningrad, which he would watch regularly. He also enjoyed playing card game
Card game
A card game is any game using playing cards as the primary device with which the game is played, be they traditional or game-specific. Countless card games exist, including families of related games...

s, particularly patience
Solitaire
Solitaire is any tabletop game which one can play by oneself or with other people. The solitaire card game Klondike is often known as simply Solitaire....

.
Both light and dark sides of his character were evident in his fondness for satirical writers such as Gogol, Chekhov
Anton Chekhov
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics...

 and Mikhail Zoshchenko
Mikhail Zoshchenko
-Biography:Zoshchenko was born in 1895, in Poltava, but spent most of his life in St. Petersburg / Leningrad. His Ukrainian father was a mosaicist responsible for the exterior decoration of the Suvorov Museum in Saint Petersburg. The future writer attended the Faculty of Law at the Saint Petersburg...

. The influence of the latter in particular is evident in his letters, which include wry parodies of Soviet officialese. Zoshchenko himself noted the contradictions in the composer's character: "he is ... frail, fragile, withdrawn, an infinitely direct, pure child ... [but he is also] hard, acid, extremely intelligent, strong perhaps, despotic and not altogether good-natured (although cerebrally good-natured)".

He was diffident by nature: Flora Litvinova has said he was "completely incapable of saying 'No' to anybody." This meant he was easily persuaded to sign official statements, including a denunciation of Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist. He earned renown as the designer of the Soviet Union's Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the...

 in 1973; on the other hand he was willing to try to help constituents in his capacities as chairman of the Composers' Union and Deputy to the Supreme Soviet. Oleg Prokofiev
Oleg Prokofiev
Oleg Sergeevich Prokofiev — prominent artist, sculptor and a poet....

 commented that "he tried to help so many people that ... less and less attention was paid to his pleas." Shostakovich was an agnostic and stated when asked if he believed in God, "No, and I am very sorry about it."

Orthodoxy and revisionism




Shostakovich's response to official criticism and, what is more important, the question of whether he used music as a kind of abstract dissidence is a matter of dispute. He outwardly conformed to government policies and positions, reading speeches and putting his name to articles expressing the government line. But it is evident he disliked many aspects of the regime, as confirmed by his family, his letters to Isaak Glikman, and the satirical cantata
Cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

 "Rayok
Rayok (Shostakovich)
Anti-Formalist Rayok , without opus number, also known as simply Rayok , The Peep-show, Little Paradise, The Gods and A Learner's Manual) is a satirical cantata for four voices, chorus and piano by Dmitri Shostakovich. Its title derives from Modest Mussorgsky's work Rayok...

", which ridiculed the "anti-formalist" campaign and was kept hidden until after his death. He was a close friend of Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union was the de facto highest military rank of the Soviet Union. ....

 Mikhail Tukhachevsky
Mikhail Tukhachevsky
Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky was a Marshal of the Soviet Union, commander in chief of the Red Army , and one of the most prominent victims of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge.-Early life:...

, who was executed in 1937 during the Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

.

It is also uncertain to what extent Shostakovich expressed his opposition to the state in his music. The revisionist
Historical revisionism
In historiography, historical revisionism is the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event...

 view was put forth by Solomon Volkov
Solomon Volkov
Solomon Moiseyevich Volkov is a Russian journalist and musicologist. He is best known for Testimony, which was published in 1979 following his emigration from the Soviet Union in 1976...

 in the 1979 book Testimony
Testimony (book)
Testimony is a book that was published in October 1979 by the Russian musicologist Solomon Volkov. He claimed that it was the memoirs of the composer Dmitri Shostakovich...

, which was claimed to be Shostakovich's memoirs dictated to Volkov. The book alleged that many of the composer's works contained coded anti-government messages. That would place Shostakovich in a tradition of Russian artists outwitting censorship that goes back at least to the early 19th century poet Pushkin. It is known that he incorporated many quotations
Musical quotation
Musical quotation is the practice of directly quoting another work in a new composition. The quotation may be from the same composer's work , or from a different composer's work ....

 and motifs
Motif (music)
In music, a motif or motive is a short musical idea, a salient recurring figure, musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in or is characteristic of a composition....

 in his work, most notably his signature
Musical cryptogram
A musical cryptogram is a cryptogrammatic sequence of musical notes, a sequence which can be taken to refer to an extra-musical text by some 'logical' relationship, usually between note names and letters. The most common and best known examples result from composers using ciphered versions of their...

 DSCH
DSCH (Dmitri Shostakovich)
DSCH is a musical motif used by the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich to represent himself. It is a musical cryptogram in the manner of the BACH motif, consisting of the notes D, E flat, C, B natural, or in German musical notation D, Es, C, H , thus standing for the composer's initials in German...

 theme. His longtime collaborator Evgeny Mravinsky
Evgeny Mravinsky
Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Mravinsky was a Russian/Soviet conductor.-Life and career:Mravinsky was born in Saint Petersburg. The soprano Yevgeniya Mravina was his aunt. His father died in 1918, and in that same year, he began to work backstage at the Mariinsky Theatre. He first studied biology at...

 said that "Shostakovich very often explained his intentions with very specific images and connotations." The revisionist perspective has subsequently been supported by his children, Maxim and Galina, and many Russian musicians. More recently, Volkov has argued that Shostakovich adopted the role of the yurodivy
Yurodivy
Foolishness for Christ refers to behavior such as giving up all one's worldly possessions upon joining a monastic order. It can also refer to deliberate flouting of society's conventions to serve a religious purpose — particularly of Christianity. The term fools for Christ derives from the writings...

or holy fool in his relations with the government. Shostakovich's widow Irina, who was present during Volkov's visits to Shostakovich, denies the authenticity of Testimony. Other prominent revisionists are Ian MacDonald
Ian MacDonald
Ian MacCormick was a British music critic and author, best known for Revolution in the Head, his forensic history of The Beatles which borrowed techniques from art historians, and The New Shostakovich, a controversial study of the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich...

, whose book The New Shostakovich put forward more interpretations of his music, and Elizabeth Wilson, whose Shostakovich: A Life Remembered provides testimony from many of the composer's acquaintances.


Musicians and scholars including Laurel Fay and Richard Taruskin
Richard Taruskin
Richard Taruskin is an American-Russian musicologist, music historian, and critic who has written about the theory of performance, Russian music, fifteenth-century music, twentieth-century music, nationalism, the theory of modernism, and analysis. As a choral conductor he directed the Columbia...

 contest the authenticity and debate the significance of Testimony, alleging that Volkov compiled it from a combination of recycled articles, gossip, and possibly some information direct from the composer. Fay documents these allegations in her 2002 article 'Volkov's Testimony reconsidered', showing that the only pages of the original Testimony manuscript that Shostakovich had signed and verified are word-for-word reproductions of earlier interviews given by the composer, none of which are controversial. (Against this, it has been pointed out by Allan B. Ho and Dmitry Feofanov that at least two of the signed pages contain controversial material: for instance, "on the first page of chapter 3, where [Shostakovich] notes that the plaque that reads 'In this house lived [Vsevolod] Meyerhold
Vsevolod Meyerhold
Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold was a great Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatrical producer. His provocative experiments dealing with physical being and symbolism in an unconventional theatre setting made him one of the seminal forces in modern international theatre.-Early...

' should also say 'And in this house his wife was brutally murdered'.") More broadly, Fay and Taruskin argue that the significance of Shostakovich is in his music rather than his life, and that to seek political messages in the music detracts from, rather than enhances, its artistic value.

Recorded legacy



In May 1958, during a visit to Paris, Shostakovich recorded his two piano concertos with André Cluytens
André Cluytens
André Cluytens was a Belgian-born French conductor who was active in the concert hall, opera house and recording studio. His repertoire extended from Viennese classics through French composers to 20th century works...

, as well as some short piano works. These were issued by EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

 on an LP, reissued by Seraphim Records
Seraphim Records
Seraphim Records is the sister label of Angel Records.-History:During the 1960s through the 1980s, it was Angel's low-price label; recordings that had originally been released on the Angel label were re-released at a bargain price on the Seraphim label...

 on LP, and eventually digitally remastered and released on CD. Shostakovich recorded the two concertos in stereo in Moscow for Melodiya
Melodiya
Melodiya is a Russian record label. It was the state-owned major record company/label of the Soviet Union.-History:It was established in 1964 as the "All-Union Gramophone Record Firm of the USSR Ministry of Culture Melodiya"...

. Shostakovich also played the piano solos in recordings of the Sonata, Op. 40, for Cello and Piano with cellist Daniil Shafran
Daniil Shafran
-Early years:Daniil Shafran was born in Petrograd in 1923. Even from before his birth he was surrounded by music. His mother and father were music students when he was born. His father, Boris Shafran, went on to be principal cellist of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and his mother, Frida...

 and also with Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of...

; the Sonata, Op. 134, for Violin and Piano with violinist David Oistrakh
David Oistrakh
David Fyodorovich Oistrakh , , David Fiodorović Ojstrakh, ; – October 24, 1974, was a Soviet violinist....

; and the Trio, Op. 67, for Violin, Cello, and Piano with violinist David Oistrakh and cellist Miloš Sádlo
Miloš Sádlo
Miloš Sádlo , a Czech cellist, was born in Prague, Czech Republic. Born Miloš Zátvrzský he took the name Sadlo after "Karel Pravoslav Sádlo", his teacher and mentor....

. There is also a short sound film of Shostakovich as soloist in a 1930s concert performance of the closing moments of his first piano concerto. A color film of Shostakovich supervising one of his operas, from his last year, was also made.

Awards


Soviet Union
  • Hero of Socialist Labor
    Hero of Socialist Labor
    Hero of Socialist Labour was an honorary title in the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries. It was the highest degree of distinction for exceptional achievements in national economy and culture...

     (1966)
  • Order of Lenin
    Order of Lenin
    The Order of Lenin , named after the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union...

     (1946, 1956, 1966)
  • Order of the October Revolution
    Order of the October Revolution
    The Order of the October Revolution was instituted on October 31, 1967, in time for the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It was awarded to individuals or groups for services furthering communism or the state, or in enhancing the defenses of the Soviet Union, military and civil...

     (1971)
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour
    Order of the Red Banner of Labour
    The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was an order of the Soviet Union for accomplishments in labour and civil service. It is the labour counterpart of the military Order of the Red Banner. A few institutions and factories, being the pride of Soviet Union, also received the order.-History:The Red...

     (1940)
  • Order of Friendship of Peoples
    Order of Friendship of Peoples
    The Order of Friendship of Peoples was an order of the Soviet Union, and was awarded to persons , organizations, enterprises, military units, as well as administrative subdivisions of the USSR for accomplishments in strengthening of inter-ethnic and international friendship and cooperation, for...

     (1972)
  • People's Artist of the USSR
    People's Artist of the USSR
    People's Artist of the USSR, also sometimes translated as National Artist of the USSR, was an honorary title granted to citizens of the Soviet Union.- Nomenclature and significance :...

     (1954)
  • People's Artist of the RSFSR (1948)
  • International Peace Prize (1954)
  • Lenin Prize
    Lenin Prize
    The Lenin Prize was one of the most prestigious awards of the USSR, presented to individuals for accomplishments relating to science, literature, arts, architecture, and technology. It was created on June 23, 1925 and was awarded until 1934. During the period from 1935 to 1956, the Lenin Prize was...

     (1958 - for the 11th symphony "1905")
  • State Stalin Prize in arts (1941 - 1st class, for piano quintet; 1942 - 1st class, 7th ("Leningrad") Symphony; 1946 - 2nd class, a trio, 1948, 1949, 1949, 1949, 1950 - 1st class, for the music for the film "Meeting on the Elbe", 1952 - 2nd class, 10 poems for chorus)
  • USSR State Prize
    USSR State Prize
    The USSR State Prize was the Soviet Union's state honour. It was established on September 9, 1966. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the prize was followed up by the State Prize of the Russian Federation....

     (1968 - for the poem "The Execution of Stepan Razin" for bass, chorus and orchestra)
  • Glinka State Prize of the RSFSR
    Glinka State Prize of the RSFSR
    The Glinka State Prize of the RSFSR was a prize awarded to musicians of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic from 1965-1990....

     (1974 - for the 14th string quartet and choral cycle "Fidelity")
  • National Prize of Ukraine Taras Shevchenko
    Shevchenko National Prize
    Shevchenko National Prize , the highest award given for works of art and literature in Ukraine. It is named after the Spiritual leader of Ukrainian national revival Taras Shevchenko.-History:...

     (posthumously, 1976 - USSR State Prize named after Taras Shevchenko - for the opera "Katerina Ismailov," staged in KUGATOB Shevchenko)


Finland
  • Sibelius Award (1958)

United States
  • Oscar nomination for Khovanshchina
    Khovanshchina (film)
    Khovanshchina is a 1960 Soviet film directed by Vera Stroyeva and based on the eponymous opera by 19th-century Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky....

    , Best Score (Musical)
    Academy Award for Original Music Score
    The Academy Award for Original Score is presented to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer.-Superlatives:...

     in 1961
    34th Academy Awards
    The 34th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 1961, were held on April 9, 1962 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. They were hosted by Bob Hope; this was the seventh time Hope hosted the Oscars...


United Kingdom
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society
    Royal Philharmonic Society
    The Royal Philharmonic Society is a British music society, formed in 1813. It was originally formed in London to promote performances of instrumental music there. Many distinguished composers and performers have taken part in its concerts...

     (1966)

Austria
Denmark
  • Léonie Sonning Music Prize
    Léonie Sonning Music Prize
    The Léonie Sonning Music Prize, or Sonning Award, which is recognized as Denmark's highest musical honor, is given annually to an international composer or musician. It was first awarded in 1959 to composer Igor Stravinsky...

     (1974)

External links