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Sheer modernity

Shostakovich's 2nd
and 14th symphonies -
appreciated by

'... a superb disc ...'

Shostakovich: Symphonies 2 and 14. Visnevskaya, Reshetin, London Symphony Orchestra/Academic Symphony Orchestra Moscow, Rostropovich. © 2004 Warner Classics

Here are two profound and monumental works of Shostakovich written before and after that long period during which a popular communicative voice was forced upon him -- and what a searing atmosphere he was able to create. Listening to the 2nd Symphony, called October on the title page of the 1927 full score, one cannot but be amazed at its power and sheer modernity.

Here is a work, first heard on 5 November 1927, that stands equally in stature alongside other European masterworks, first performed about the same time and found a place in the guidebooks -- works like Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin, Schoenberg's 3rd Quartet first heard in Vienna two months earlier, his Variations op 31 near to completion, Stravinsky's Appollon Musagète, or the riotous first performance in Budapest of Krenek's Jonny spielt auf! in March 1928. But few were aware of Shostakovich.

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Copyright © 17 February 2005 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


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