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: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk / Westbroek, Jansons
Release Date: 06/30/2009   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 7031   Number of Discs: 2
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Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk / Vishnevskaya, Rostropovich
Release Date: 11/17/2009   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 66838   Number of Discs: 2
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Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk / Westbroek
Release Date: 01/30/2007   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 965   Number of Discs: 2
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Shostakovich: The Nose, The Gamblers / Rozhdestvensky, Et Al
Release Date: 11/11/2008   Label: Melodiya  
Catalog: 1001192   Number of Discs: 2
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Shostakovich: Die Spieler / Jurowski, Nordwestdeutsche Phil
Release Date: 09/12/1995   Label: Capriccio Records  
Catalog: 60062   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Symphony no 5 in D minor, Op. 47

Browse 1-25 of 95 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 / Sanderling, Berlin Symphony
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300750 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 2.
    Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 / Sanderling, Berlin Symphony [Vinyl]
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300749BC Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra
    LP: $39.99
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  • 3.
    Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow: Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9 / Nelsons, Boston Symphony
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002490602 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Andris Nelsons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $26.99
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 12 / Mravinsky, Leningrad Philharmonic
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350122 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $23.99
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  • 6.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   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: $181.49
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  • 7.
    Mravinsky Conducts Shostakovich - Symphonies 5, 8 & 12
    Label: Parnassus Records   Catalog: 1204 Release Date: 11/03/2015  
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $14.99
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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
    DVD: $234.99
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  • 11.
    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
    Blu-ray Video: $234.99
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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    CD: $175.49
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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  ... 
    CD: $245.99
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  • 17.
    Shostakovich: Complete Symphonies [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! $95.98
    CD: $91.49
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  • 18.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 19.
    Label: Urania Records   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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  • 20.
    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
    On sale! $17.98
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $68.99
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