Dmitri Shostakovich rounded out his symphonic career with a work that seems to meditate on childhood but channels solemnity and melancholy. Have a listen as his son, Maxim, conducts the DSO.
Conductor Maxim Shostakovich
Dmitri Shostakovich (1908-1975)
Symphony 15 in A Major, op. 141
Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin
Conductor: Maxim Shostakovich
Like father, like son: this performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's Fifteenth Symphony is conducted by none other than Maxim Shostakovich, composer Dmitri Shostakovich's second son, who also premiered the work with the USSR Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra in 1972.
Written in a month during the summer of 1971, this symphony was to be Shostakovich's last. It is almost as though he already knew that things were drawing to a close. There are quotations from works of his immediate predecessors - the most prominent being the "William Tell Overture" in the first movement - along with citations from his fourth symphony and relentless ticking from the percussion foreshadowing the end.
The rhythm section - consisting of sixteen instruments - plays a prominent role in the symphony. In the first movement, the bright timbre of the glockenspiel mimics the whimsical sounds of a toy shop, but unsettling rattling noises also invoke darker associations.
Woven into the ambiguous harmonic and rhythmic fabric of the first movement, the percussion section joins the rest of the orchestra to portray childhood innocence with a melancholy touch. A solemn but ethereal percussion toccata brings the symphony to a close in the final movement.
Author: Elaine Yeung
Editor: Greg Wiser