Cello Concerto No. 1 (Shostakovich)

From Academic Kids

The Cello Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major, Opus 107, was written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1959. He wrote it for Mstislav Rostropovich, who memorised the work in four days and gave the premiere in Leningrad under Yevgeny Mravinsky.

The concerto lasts around 25 minutes and has four movements including the cadenza:

  1. Allegretto
  2. Moderato
  3. Cadenza -- Attacca
  4. Allegro con moto

The work is similar in some respects to the Symphony-Concertante of Sergei Prokofiev, a work Shostakovich greatly admired. The insistent first movement includes quotations from the Trepak in Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death. It is followed by an elegiac second movement, which leads into the cadenza. The cadenza is based on material from the earlier movements and comes to be dominated by the opening theme. The finale includes a quotation from Suliko, a song favoured by Stalin and used by Shostakovich in Rayok, his satire on the Soviet system. The opening theme then re-emerges to conclude the work.

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