Shostakovich – Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10

by Max Derrickson

Dmitri Shostakovich

Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10
1. Allegretto – Allegro non troppo
2. Allegro (moto perpetuo)
3. Lento
4. Finale – Allegro molto

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Such was the climate [of Russia between] Tchaikovsky’s death and Shostakovich’s birth.

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was born inSt. Petersburgand entered the Leningrad Conservatory in 1919. In addition to his development as a composer, he was originally to become a virtuoso pianist. Symphony No. 1 Op.10 was submitted to the Conservatory as his graduation exercise in 1925, receiving its premiere in 1926. The legendary Bruno Walter premiered it inBerlina year later, and in the next several years, so did Stokowski (Philadelphia) and Toscanini (New York).

Shostakovich once stated that “There can be no music without ideology.” In the 1920’s Russia seemed to at last have a semblance of hope and direction. All kinds of bristling new avenues were being explored in musicalRussia, and avant-garde theory was welcomed, but only as part of the composite canvas of the breathless and overwhelming socialist ideal. One can hear a youthful exuberance in this first symphony which reflects that idealism, but much deeper, there is also a terrible uneasiness. It is also the first glimpse of the powerful utterances that one associates with the composer’s music.

Shostakovich composed this work within a formal outline, with themes unifying the entirety of the piece;
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