24 Aug 2017

SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No 10

From Music Alive, 8:55 pm on 24 August 2017

Shostakovich’s 'Symphony No 10' is described on the APO's website as a "monumental, overwhelming symphony – at once a lament for the suffering of the Soviet people under Stalin and a document of defiance. Music of exhausted, drained sadness is shockingly set against music of rage and terror, yet hope in the human spirit is never extinguished."

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Andrew Gourlay

Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich Photo: Creative Commons

The symphony has elsewhere been described as fifty minutes of tragedy, despair, terror, and violence -  and two minutes of triumph. It can be seen as a depiction of the Stalin years in Russia, when between eight and 20 million people died as a direct or indirect result of Stalin’s regime, and when those who didn’t lived in constant fear.

Stalin died in March 1953 and Shostakovich began work on the symphony three months later. In Testimony, the memoir supposedly dictated by the composer but whose authenticity is hotly disputed, he’s quoted as saying “I did depict Stalin in music in my next Symphony, the Tenth. I wrote it right after Stalin’s death … It’s about Stalin and the Stalin years.” This is particularly true of the second movement, short and brutal, music of unremitting terror and frenzied violence, the military drum making its presence keenly felt.

Recorded in Auckland Town Hall on 24 August 2017 by RNZ Concert

Producer: Tim Dodd

Engineer: Adrian Hollay

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