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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: Symphony No 13
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 573218   Number of Discs: 1
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Shostakovich: Symphony No 14 / Petrenko
Release Date: 04/29/2014   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573132   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich: String Quartets / Borodin Quartet
Release Date: 11/18/2008   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2072298   Number of Discs: 1
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Shostakovich: Symphony No 4 / Petrenko
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573188   Number of Discs: 1
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Complete String Quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich / Pacifica Quartet
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 1003   Number of Discs: 8
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Work: Symphony no 5 in D minor, Op. 47

Browse 1-25 of 99 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Seiji Ozawa - The Philips Years: Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002185602 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Mariko Kobayashi,  Everett Firth,  Hiroshi Arimori,  Sawako Yasue  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Saito Kinen Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers  ... 
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    On sale! $179.98
    CD: $163.99
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  • 2.
    Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 / Boreyko, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93326 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Andrey Boreyko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    100 Great Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon,  Christopher Hogwood,  Thomas Füri,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Camerata Bern  ... 
    On sale! $259.98
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  • 5.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $155.98
    CD: $149.99
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  • 6.
    Shostakovich: The Great Symphonies
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 6004 Release Date: 02/04/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Rudolf Barshai,  Maxim Shostakovich,  Konstantin Ivanov,  Yevgeny Mravinsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  West German Radio Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  USSR State Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22346 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    On sale! $15.98
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  • 8.
    Schubert - Shostakovich: Grand Duo / Grau Schumacher Piano Duo
    Label: Neos   Catalog: 20801 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  GrauSchumacher Piano Duo
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  • 9.
    Shostakovich: Symphony No 5 / Temirkanov, St. Petersburg Philharmonic
    Label: Mirare   Catalog: 196 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Icon - Constantin Silvestri [15-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 233472 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  George Enescu,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantin Silvestri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
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  • 11.
    Shostakovich Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9245 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Benjamin Fleischmann
    Performer:  Sergei Aleksashkin,  Vladimir Vaneev,  Alla Simoni,  Cristina Ortiz  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Barshai,  Paavo Berglund,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wdr Sinfonieorchester,  Wdr Sinfonieorchester Rundfunkchor,  Wdr Sinfonieorchester Choral Academy Moscow  ... 
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  • 12.
    Eugene Ormandy Conducts 20th Century Classics
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   Catalog: 417202 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Van Cliburn,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mendelssohn Club Chorus Philadelphia,  Rutgers University Chorus
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  • 13.
    Shostakovich: Symphony No 5, Festive Overture / Nowak, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Catalog: 37 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Grzegorz Nowak
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Shostakovich: Symphony No 5 / Ashkenazy, Royal Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001708802 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Great Russian Symphonies
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501059 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper,  Gerard Schwarz,  Antoni Wit,  Theodore Kuchar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Katowice Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Seattle Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    Takemitsu: From Me Flows What You Call Time; Shostakovich: Symphony No 5 / Sado
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058748 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Toru Takemitsu,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Takemitsu: From Me Flows What You Call Time; Shostakovich: Symphony no 5 / Sado [Blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058744 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Toru Takemitsu,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 18.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 19.
    Anthology Of The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Vol 6 - Live Radio Recordings 1990-2000
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 11004 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Luciano Berio,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Ildiko Komlósi,  Kolos Kovacs,  Martha Argerich,  Ann Murray  ... 
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer,  Claus Peter Flor,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Luciano Berio  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Swingle Singers,  Netherlands Radio Women's Chorus
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    On sale! $246.98
    CD: $189.99
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  • 20.
    Bbc Legends: Stokowski
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 50072 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Rae Woodland
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union,  BBC Choral Society  ... 
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  • 21.
    Bernstein Conducts Shostakovich
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3085318 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Song Of The Forests / Mravinsky, USSR State Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1000771 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Vitaly Kiltchevsky,  Ivan Petrov
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra,  USSR State Symphony Chorus
    CD: $14.99
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  • 23.
    Mravinsky Conducts The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 698905 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Glazunov,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Rostropovich Conducts Shostakovich - Complete Symphonies
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 64177 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Nicola [Bass Vocal] Ghiuselev,  Galina Vishnevskaya,  Mark Reshetin
    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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  • 25.
    The Story of the Symphony / Andre Previn
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4572 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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