Music Born Of Fear Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5


Following its premiere there was widespread speculation—from an ‘official’ review by Alexei Tolstoy to Shostakovich’s son Maxim’s remarks many years later—about just what Shostakovich was saying. Reading how others interpreted the music may help you decide what you think this controversial symphony means.

Despite differing opinions, every one agrees that Shostakovich’s dramatic opening is powerfully symbolic.

alexey tolstoy

 “The symphony describes the formation of a personality ... In the first movement the composer-hero suffers a psychological crisis.”
—Alexei Tolstoy, Writer and Deputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet in Izvestiya, December 28, 1937


“The beginning of the piece tells of man with all his sufferings.”
—in the article, “My Creative Answer,” presumably by Shostakovich, in the Literaturenaya gazeta, January 12, 1938

Maxim Shostakovich

“Stormy introduction. Intense. Not fast. ‘Listen to me! I am going to speak now!’”
—Maxim Shostakovich, the composer’s son


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November 27, 2009
For the true source and aetiology of William Kentridge's forthcoming direction of Shostkoavich's "The Nose" at Met Opera NYC, March 2010, see javari Apps on iTunes, especially "Freud Futures" on "iMishMashUps" App and "Kentridge" App Cybereditor New York NY
November 12, 2009
Wow he is awsome.
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