Composers Datebook for November 3, 2011



Produced in association with the American Composers Forum

Thursday, November 3

Play today's show | How to listen

On today's date in 1943, a specially invited audience filed into the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory to hear the dress rehearsal of the new Eighth Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Anticipation ran high. Shostakovich's Seventh, his patriotic and rousing "Leningrad" Symphony, had attracted worldwide attention and ecstatic official praise. The Soviet Union was still at war, and the tide was beginning to turn, with the Russians starting to sense victory. Shostakovich had said his new work, "could not help but be influenced by the joyful news connected with the victories of the Red Army . . . The Eighth Symphony is, on the whole, an optimistic, life-affirming work."

Its first audiences found Shostakovich's new symphony both puzzling in form and downright tragic in tone. And, two years later to the day, on November 3, 1945, when Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony premiered, the reaction was even more striking. This time Shostakovich had been quoted as saying his new symphony would, "honor with reverence the memory of the brave soldiers who have died and glorify the heroes of our army for eternity."

What audiences got was something quite different: a quirky, light-hearted romp. Audiences and musicians liked it, but official Soviet critics were not amused, finding it all much too frivolous and silly. It would be decades before both these "politically incorrect" works could be heard for what they actually were, rather than what they were supposed to be.

Music Played on Today's Program:

Dmitri Shostakovich
(1906 - 1975):
Symphony No. 8, Op. 65
Leningrad Philharmonic;
Yevgeny Mravinsky, cond.
Philips 422 442
Symphony No. 9, Op. 70
St. Petersburg Philharmonic;
Yuri Termirkanov, cond.
BMG/RCA 68548

Additional Information:

On Dimitri Shostakovich
More on Shostakovich

About the Program
Composers Datebook is a daily program about composers of the past and present, hosted by John Zech.

Support Composers Datebook
Purchase music from Composers Datebook from Amazon. Or shop Public Radio Market. Your purchases help support the American Composers Forum and public radio.

Your support makes our online services possible. Contribute Now.

Fostering artistic and professional development

You received this free e-mail newsletter because you previously subscribed or because it was sent to you by a friend. This e-mail was sent to the following address:

Unsubscribe | Contact Us

� 2011 American Public Media
480 Cedar Street, Saint Paul, MN 55101

Privacy policy


Blog Archive

Preview on Feedage: studio-art-gallery Add to My Yahoo! Add to Google! Add to AOL! Add to MSN
Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to Netvibes Subscribe in Pakeflakes Subscribe in Bloglines Add to Alesti RSS Reader
Add to Groups Add to Windows Live iPing-it Add to Feedage RSS Alerts Add To Fwicki