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29.9.06

More on Shostakovich

In my brief Shostakovich centennial post in honor of the composer's birthday on Monday, I noted that the blog coverage of the anniversary was almost non-existent. Here are two more links relating to DSCH that have appeared since, beginning with an article by James Barron (At Long Last, a Shostakovich Premiere, September 27) in the New York Times:

Forty-four years later, an audience will finally hear Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 the way the Soviet censors heard it. Weeks before its premiere in December 1962, the censors listened not to the version for orchestra, chorus and bass that has been performed ever since, but to a two-piano version. Shostakovich had reduced the orchestral score because the censors, charged with deciding whether to approve the piece, did not need to hear a full-strength orchestra or chorus. They approved it. But the two-piano score was all but forgotten in the uproar about the first performance and was never published.

The piece, which some critics have suggested is more like a cantata than a symphony, opens with a setting of Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poem “Babi Yar,” about a notorious mass grave near Kiev. In 36 hours beginning on Sept. 29, 1941 — 65 years ago Friday — the Nazis killed more than 33,000 Jews there. More than 100,000 Russians and Ukrainians were also killed there, as World War II ground on. The Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan focused on the anniversary of the massacre when it began planning tonight’s performance, which will feature the first movement of the symphony with the husband-and-wife pianists Misha and Cipa Dichter, the bass Valentin Peytchinov and a chorus conducted by Patrick Gardner. (The Dichters will also play Shostakovich’s Concertino for Two Pianos, and Mr. Peytchinov and Mr. Dichter will perform the first of the four Opus 91 Monologues on texts of Pushkin.)
Allan Kozinn reviews that concert in today's newspaper (Music of Rage for 34,000 Silenced Voices, September 29) and dismisses the significance of the recovered 2-piano version rather curtly.

UPDATE:
Alex Ross gets on the bandwagon today, too.

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