Klaus Mäkelä Dmitri Shostakovich

Shostakovich’ first and last

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Foto Kaupo Kikkas

Shostakovich’ first and last

Klaus Mäkelä conducts Dmitri Shostakovich’ first and last symphony, written 45 years apart. Symphony No. 1 was Shostakovich's international breakthrough. Symphony No. 15 is an ambiguous look back at the history of music and his own music.

“It was immediately clear that this first symphony by Shostakovich was the living, individual and striking work of a composer with an original approach,” said Nikolai Malko, who conducted the Leningrad premiere of Shostakovich’ Symphony No. 1.

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) celebrated the 12 May 1926, the day he heard his own symphony in the concert hall, as his second birthday. The symphony was a huge success and soon gained international recognition—the year after, the Berlin Philharmonic played it.

One can hear glimpses of sources of inspiration such as Mahler and Stravinsky in the symphony, but it is a new and unmistakable composer’s voice that shines through with strong contrasts, beautiful parts, violent outbursts, humor, grotesque whimsy, and, in all things, sparkling craftsmanship.

“I don't myself quite know why the quotations are there, but I could not, could not, not include them,” Shostakovich told his friend Isaak Gliman about the quotes in his Symphony No. 15. The symphony is a cornucopia of references both to the history of music and to the composer’s own work.

Shostakovich wrote Symphony No. 15 in the summer of 1971. During the 45 years since his first symphony, the Soviet government had made his life difficult for periods. Towards the end of his life, he often spoke cautiously and ambiguously, even about his own music. 

Shostakovich has described his first movement as a toy shop with memories from childhood, a protest against death. The third movement is brisk and moody, while the first, second, and fourth movements have a more melancholic and introspective feel, like a wistful farewell to the symphonies.

What is played

  • Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony No. 1
  • Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony No. 15





Price groups Price
Adult 185 - 610 NOK
Senior 195 - 490 NOK
Student 185 - 305 NOK
Child 150 NOK

Klaus Mäkelä Dmitri Shostakovich

Oslo Concert Hall Select date: Buy ticket