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The Eleventh Symphony of Shostakovich was at one time seen abroad as mere Soviet propaganda, crudely cinematic programme music in support of Communism. With hindsight, colored by Volkov's Testimony, the work may be regarded very differently. At home it proved acceptable to the official musical establishment. In 1958 the composer was awarded the Lenin Prize and the Party condemnation of 1948 was withdrawn, attributed now to Stalinist excesses, under the malign influence of Molotov, Malenkov and Beria. The work is scored for a large orchestra, which includes xylophone, celesta, tubular bells and a possible four harps, in addition to the usual woodwind and brass and a suggested total of eighty string players. The somber first movement opens with muted strings and harps, followed by the entry of the timpani with a triplet rhythm figure and the Mahlerian sound of a muted trumpet fanfare. Into the texture he weaves two songs of nineteenth century political prisoners, Listen and The Prisoner. The second movement, introduced now by unmuted strings, brings the agitation and terror of the Cossack assault on the peaceful demonstrators, including here references to earlier compositions. In Memoriam mourns the victims of oppression, entrusted at first to the lower strings, and the composer continues to make use of themes popularly associated with the incidents of 1905 and the aspirations of the people. The last movement of a work that offers a vast canvas of historical and contemporary relevance, never descending to the level of a programmatic collage, has the title Nabat (Tocsin), a warning bell, the name of a review published by the exiled revolutionary Tkachev in Geneva, advocating violence in the cause of reform. The chosen title may be understood in a double sense in a movement that transcends the circumstances of it's composition. The Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), the oldest symphonic ensemble in Slovakia, was founded in 1929. The orchest
  • Shostakovich : Symphony 11
GenreClassical Music
Publication Date19940215
Publisher ImprintNaxos Audiobooks

Symphony 11

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