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Classical 101

Powerful Shostakovich 10th Symphony Featured

Boston Symphony Orchestra webpage
One of the top-10 releases from 2015, Andris Nelsons with the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays Shostakovich's 10th Symphony.

Classical 101 morning host Boyce Lancaster recently interviewed the Columbus Symphony's music director Rossen Milanov about the CSO's Russian Winter Festival.  On this week's Symphony @ 7, I'll have a "mini" Russian festival with a highly acclaimed new recording of the powerful Symphony No. 10 in E Minor by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Gramophone Magazine named this recent DG release one of the top-10 best of 2015.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra, under its exciting new music director Andris Nelsons, recorded this Russian masterpiece in concert in April of 2015 in Boston Symphony Hall.

The Tenth Symphony of Shostakovich is considered by some to be his symphonic masterpiece.  It was first performed in 1953 after the death of Joseph Stalin.  The nearly hour long symphony is in four movements, and after the very substantial first movement, it has been suggested that the short, energetic and almost demonic-sounding second movement scherzo is a musical portrait of Stalin himself.  A slow movement and final movement follow to conclude this monumental work.

This symphony also makes extensive use of a four-note motif based on the initials of the composer's name, DSCH, which is the German notation for the notes D, C, B, and E-Flat.  The use of this motif can be seen as an affirmation of personal identity in a totalitarian society that had been ruled in fear by Stalin.  The personal uniqueness of the individual is expressed, even if obliquely, in music intended for a large public audience. 

Join me Thursday evening for Symphony @ 7 for this 20th century Russian masterpiece from Dmitri Shostakovich on Classical 101.