Shostakovich- Symphony No. 10, Mvt. 2




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Published on Feb 20, 2010

The second movement, Allegro, of Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10 in E Minor, Op. 93.

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was a Russian composer of the Soviet period and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century.

Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Leon Trotsky's chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the Stalinist bureaucracy. His music was officially denounced twice, in 1936 and 1948, and was periodically banned. Yet he also received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. Despite the official controversy, his works were popular and well received.

After a period influenced by Prokofiev and Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style, as exemplified by his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934). This single work juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, including the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and post-Romanticism (after Mahler). Sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque characterize much of his music.

Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His music for chamber ensembles includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet and two piano trios. For the piano he composed two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include two operas, and a substantial quantity of film music.

The Symphony No. 10 in E minor (Op. 93) by Dmitri Shostakovich was premiered by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky on 17 December 1953, following the death of Stalin in March that year. It is not clear when it was written: according to the composer's letters composition was between July and October 1953, but Tatiana Nikolayeva stated that it was completed in 1951. Sketches for some of the material date from 1946. It was Shostakovich's first symphonic work since his denunciation in 1948.

The piece is a prime example of Neoclassical Music. Neoclassicism in music was a 20th century development, particularly popular in the period between the two World Wars, in which composers drew inspiration from music of the 18th century, though some of the inspiring canon was drawn as much from the Baroque period as the Classical period—for this reason, music which draws influence specifically from the Baroque is sometimes termed neo-baroque.

Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith and Sergei Prokofiev are important composers in this mode, alongside the prolific Darius Milhaud and his contemporary Francis Poulenc.

Although Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1 (1917) is sometimes cited as a precursor of neoclassicism, Prokofiev himself acknowledged that his composition was a 'passing phase' whereas Stravinsky's neoclassicism was by the 1920s 'becoming the basic line of his music'.

Stravinsky's rival for a time in neoclassicism was the German Paul Hindemith, who produced both chamber works and orchestral works in this style, perhaps most famously "Mathis der Maler". His chamber output includes his Sonata for Horn, an expressionistic work filled with dark detail and internal connections.


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