Stravinsky and Shostakovich
The first venture into the field of symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich and a work by Igor Stravinsky premiered in 1930, less than two decades after the tumultuous first performance of The Rite of Spring, which brought the composer worldwide acclaim. We will thus have honored two of the greatest Russian composers of the 20th century.
Stravinsky’s work is also a tribute to an orchestra, as it was commissioned by conductor Sergei Kusevitski to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 was premiered in 1926 to tremendous success. Completed at the age of nineteen, it was the composer’s graduation piece at the Leningrad Conservatory. The work, in addition to multiple and varied citations, also attests to the influences of Stravinsky and Prokofiev. The transparency of this symphony stands in sharp contrast to the complex, heavy and sophisticated, almost Mahlerian orchestration found in the composer’s later works in this domain.