Klaus Mäkelä conducts Dmitri Shostakovich’s dark and violent Symphony No. 10.
During the 1930s, Dmitri Shostakovich’s (1906–1975) fell into disfavour of Josef Stalin, the mighty ruler of the Soviet Union. In the course of the next decades, official reactions to his music varied strongly, and it was only following Stalin’s death in 1953 that his work was officially acknowledged. He remained terrified of reprisals for the rest of his life.
The background to his Symphony No. 10 is strongly contested – did he compose the symphony before or after Stalin’s death in the spring of 1953? And to what extent is it about Stalin and his era? The violent second movement has been claimed to be a depiction of Stalin himself – references to brutality and suppression are in clear evidence in the intense music. There was no doubting the artistic quality of the work, and the symphony was a great success, both in Russia and in the West. And if parts of the symphony seem oppressively dark, it also contains flickers of hope.
(Translation from Norwegian: Sarah Osa)
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