Symphony No. 14 (Shostakovich)

From Academic Kids

The Symphony No. 14 (Opus 135) by Dmitri Shostakovich was completed in the spring of 1969, and first performed in Leningrad on 29 September 1969 by the Moscow Chamber Orchestra under Rudolf Barshai. The vocalists were Margarita Miroshnikova (soprano) and Evgeni Vladimirov (bass). The premiere was also notable for the death in the audience of Pavel Apostolov, one of the composer's most vicious critics.

The work has eleven linked movements, each a setting of a poem. The work exists in Russian and original-language versions:

  1. De profundis (Federico García Lorca)
  2. Malagueña (Federico García Lorca)
  3. La Loreley (Guillaume Apollinaire)
  4. Le Suicidé (Guillaume Apollinaire)
  5. Les Attentives I (Guillaume Apollinaire)
  6. Les Attentives II (Guillaume Apollinaire)
  7. A la Santé (Guillaume Apollinaire)
  8. Réponse des Cosaques Zaporogues au Sultan de Constantinople (Guillaume Apollinaire)
  9. O, Del'vig, Del'vig! (Wilhelm Küchelbeker)
  10. Der Tod des Dichters (Rainer Maria Rilke)
  11. Schlußtück (Rainer Maria Rilke)

The composer himself was initially unsure what to call the work: designating it a symphony rather than a song cycle emphasises the unity of the work musically and philosophically: all the poems deal with the subject of mortality. Many at the time (including Solzhenitsyn and Lev Lebedinsky) criticised the work as overly pessimistic; Wilson argues that on the contrary "through careful ordering of the texts [he] conveys a specific message of protest at the arbitrary power exercised by dictators in sending the innocent to their deaths" (p. 411).

Further reading

  • Wilson, Elizabeth (1994). Shostakovich: A Life Remembered. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691044651.

External link

Texts of the poems in Russian and English translation (http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/Strasse/9570/shostakovich/135.html)

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