7 Nov 2014

Curtain Raiser: Shostakovich - Symphony No 15

From the collecton Curtain Raiser
Russian stamp in memory of Shostakovich

Russian stamp in memory of Shostakovich Photo: Public Domain

Shostakovich had already proven he was a musical master of subterfuge, but even by his standards the 15th Symphony is an enigma. Nowhere is the paradox of Shostakovich more evident than in this extraordinary work, written when the composer was beset by thoughts of mortality, and had retreated into an inner world in which he preferred to express himself in the intimate forms of the string quartet or vocal cycle. The 15th Symphony belongs to the period of Shostakovich’s darkest music, and it asks some of the most profound questions that he ever posed: about the limits of musical expression and about what musical individuality and personality might be.

Introduced by Rachel Hyde.

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