Dmitri Shostakovich

Biography

Born: Sep 25, 1906; Russia   Died: Aug 9, 1975; Russia   Period: 20th Century
Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian composer whose symphonies and quartets, numbering 15 each, are among the greatest examples of these classic forms from the twentieth century. His style evolved from the brash humor and experimental character of his first period, exemplified by the operas The Nose and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, into both the more introverted melancholy and nationalistic fervor of his second phase (the Symphonies No. 5 and No. 7, Read more "Leningrad"), and finally into the defiant and bleak mood of his last period (exemplified by the Symphony No. 14 and Quartet No. 15). Early in his career his music showed the influence of Prokofiev and Stravinsky, especially in his prodigious and highly successful First Symphony. He could effectively communicate a melancholic depth and profound sense of anguish, as one hears in many of his symphonies, concertos, and quartets. Solomon Volkov, in his controversial Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich explains the composer's seeming bombast as deft satire of the pomposity of the Soviet state, pointing to the "forced rejoicing" of Fifth Symphony's ending. Typical traits of Shostakovich's style include short reiterated melodic or rhythmic figures, motifs of one or two pitches or intervals, and lugubrious and manic string writing.
Shostakovich was born in St. Petersburg, in 1906, and educated at the Petrograd Conservatory. The acid style of his early Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk irritated Stalin, and Shostakovich was attacked in the Soviet press. Fearing imprisonment, he withdrew his already rehearsed Fourth Symphony; his Fifth Symphony (1937) carried the subtitle "A Soviet Artist's Reply to Just Criticism." It is more ingenious than most critics have fathomed, for it managed to satisfy both the backward tastes of the party censors and those of more demanding aesthetes in the West.
The 1941 German invasion of Russia inspired the composer's Seventh Symphony, subtitled "Leningrad." Impressed by the symphony's epic-heroic character, Toscanini, Koussevitsky, and Stokowski vied for the Western Hemisphere premiere; the score had to be microfilmed, flown to Teheran, driven to Cairo, and flown out. The work became an enormous success the world over, but eventually fell into obscurity. Still, the composer had for a time become a worldwide celebrity, his picture even appearing on the cover of Time.
Shostakovich ran afoul of the government again in 1948, when an infamous decree was issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party accusing Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and other prominent composers of "formalist perversions." For some time he wrote mostly works glorifying Soviet life or history. Artistic repression diminished in post-Stalinist Russia, but curiously Shostakovich still drew in his modernist horns until the Thirteenth Symphony, "Babi Yar," a 1962 work based on poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. The work provoked major controversy because of its first movement's subject: Russian oppression of the Jews.
In 1966 Shostakovich wrote his Second Cello Concerto, a work on an even higher level than his solid First, but one which has yet to capture as much attention from either artists or the public. That year, Shostakovich was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. He continued to compose, his works growing more sparsely scored and darker, the subject of death becoming prominent. His Fourteenth Symphony (1969), really a collection of songs on texts by Lorca, Apollinaire, Küchelbecker, and Rilke, is a death-obsessed work of considerable dissonance and showing little regard for the Socialist Realism still demanded by the state. Shostakovich died on August 9, 1975. Read less
Shostakovich: Symphonies 6 & 14 / Jurowski, Monogarova, Leiferkus
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 80   Number of Discs: 1
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Shostakovich: Symphony No 8 / Rostropovich, London So
Release Date: 07/12/2005   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 60   Number of Discs: 1
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Shostakovich: Piano Concertos, Piano Quintet / Helmchen, Jurowski
Release Date: 05/31/2011   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 53   Number of Discs: 1
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Shostakovich & Myaskovsky String Quartets / Pacifica Quartet
Release Date: 09/27/2011   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 127   Number of Discs: 2
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Schubert: Death and the Maiden - Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony / LSO String Ensemble
Release Date: 03/11/2016   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 786   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 54

Browse 1-25 of 43 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Shostakovich: All Symphonies ? 110th Anniversary Album
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 10024 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Yevgeny Mravinsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra,  USSR State Academy Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 2.
    The Leonard Bernstein Collection, Vol. 2
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002462302 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 64
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Alessi,  Glenn Dicterow,  Philip Smith,  Jaap Van Zweden  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Bach Festival Percussion Ensemble
    CD: $202.99
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  • 3.
    Shostakovich: The Complete Symphonies
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501111 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Vasily Petrenko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
    CD: $98.99
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  • 4.
    Shostakovich Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9420 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 49
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Benjamin Fleischmann
    Performer:  Boris Petrushansky,  Lewis James Quinn,  Kevin Matthews,  Alastair McCall  ... 
    Conductor:  Vasily Petrenko,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Rudolf Barshai,  Paavo Berglund  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Wdr Sinfonieorchester  ... 
    CD: $128.99
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  • 5.
    Shostakovich: Complete Symphonies & Concertos / Gergiev, Mariinsky
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107551 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Daniil Trifonov,  Timur Martynov,  Denis Matsuev,  Veronika Dzhioeva  ... 
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Chorus
    On sale! $234.99
    DVD: $184.99
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  • 6.
    Shostakovich: Complete Symphonies & Concertos / Gergiev, Mariinsky [Blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107552 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Daniil Trifonov,  Timur Martynov,  Denis Matsuev,  Veronika Dzhioeva  ... 
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Chorus
    On sale! $234.99
    Blu-ray Video: $184.99
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  • 7.
    Yuri Termirkanov Conducts Shostakovich
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88843063602 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Sergey Aleksashkin,  Natalia Gutman,  Igor Sharapov,  Denis Matsuev  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    CD: $22.99
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  • 8.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies 6 & 14 / Jurowski, Monogarova, Leiferkus
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 80 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Tatiana Monogarova,  Sergei Leiferkus
    Conductor:  Vladimir Jurowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies 4, 5 & 6 / Gergiev, Mariinsky Orchestra
    Label: Mariinsky   Catalog: 545 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Symphonie Nr. 6: Tschaikowsky, Shostakowitsch
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900123 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Shostakovich: Complete Symphonies [12-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002020902 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Anatoli Kotscherga,  Sergei Leiferkus,  Ljuba Kazarnovskaya
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Neeme Järvi,  Myung-Whun Chung,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra,  Gothenburg Symphony Chorus  ... 
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    On sale! $95.98
    CD: $91.49
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  • 12.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies 1 & 6 / Boreyko, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93303 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Andrey Boreyko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 13.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Stereo Collection 1954-1975
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1916852 Release Date: 08/21/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Anna Moffo,  Martina Arroyo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Norman Luboff Choir  ... 
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  • 14.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies No 6 & 12 / Petrenko, Royal Liverpool PO
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572658 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Vasily Petrenko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Rostropovich conducts Shostakovich - Complete Symphonies
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 64177 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiuselev,  Mark Reshetin,  Galina Vishnevskaya
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow State Philharmonic
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  • 16.
    Stokowski Conducts Shostakovich - Recordings 1930-42
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1232 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  NBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 17.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies 6 & 11 / Haitink, Concertgebouw
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 411939 Release Date: 03/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    On sale! $24.98
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  • 18.
    The Kondrashin Recordings - Shostakovich, Nielsen
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 438283 Release Date: 02/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies No 1 & 6 / Skrowaczewski, Halle
    Label: Hallé   Catalog: 7506 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies No 1 & 6 / Ashkenazy, Royal Phil
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425609 Release Date: 10/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies No 12 & 6;  Strauss Jr. / Rozhdestvensky, Bbc So, Et Al
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4242 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Fritz Reiner Conducts Prokofiev, Debussy, Shostakovich
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2333 Release Date: 05/06/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Claude Debussy,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Lauritz Melchior
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Symphonies Nos.
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1075 Release Date: 01/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Rudolf Barshai
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 24.
    Shostakovich: Complete Symphonies Vol 7 / Kofman, Et Al
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm) Gold   Catalog: 9371207 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Roman Kofman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beethoven Orchestra Bonn
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Shostakovich: The Symphonies / Ashkenazy
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000897202 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Spoken Word
    Performer:  Sergej Kopcak,  Joan [Soprano Vocal] Rodgers,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo,  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $84.49
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