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 Search Beat > Arts > Music > Styles > Classical Music > Featured Composer > Dmitri Shostakovich


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biography
Shostakovich (1906-1975) emerged in the face of oppressive Soviet cultural policies to become one of the outstanding composers of the modern era. Shostakovich wrote powerful symphonies in the wake of Mahler, while he expressed his more private thoughts in deeply compelling chamber music. His uniquely ironic and emotionally riveting voice became a defining feature of 20th-century music.
recommended recordings
Bernstein Century - Shostakovich: Symphonies no 5 & 9
Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Performer: Manuel Zegler
Ensemble: New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Sony Classics - #61841 / September 14, 1999

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Leonard Bernstein's performances of Shostakovich were almost as highly regarded as his Mahler. This performance of the Fifth Symphony was the highlight of his celebrated tour of the Soviet Union with the New York Philharmonic in 1959. The composer himself attended the performances and approved of Bernstein's interpretation, which is the exact opposite of the traditional Russian one. Rather than take the finale ponderously, Bernstein flies through the music at a frantic pace, carrying it forward...Read more


Karajan Gold - Schostakowitsch: Symphonie no 10

Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Uni/Deutsche Grammophon - #39036 / July 18, 1996

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Herbert von Karajan undoubtedly wished to be remembered as this century's great German conductor. He recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies four times, Brahms twice, Bruckner almost twice. But in truth, he was better at other things, and when he worked outside his standard repertory he usually did his best work--like here, for instance. Von Karajan actually recorded this symphony once before, a good performance. But when he returned to it for a digital retread, he simply let himself go and...Read more


Shostakovich: Complete String Quartets / Borodin Quartet
Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Sviatoslav Richter
Ensemble: Borodin String Quartet, Prokofiev Quartet
Bmg/Melodiya - #40711 / August 12, 1997

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Rarely do we come across as intimate and wide-angled a set as this collection of Dmitri Shostakovich's 15 string quartets, all of them played by the Russian Borodin Quartet. Recorded in Moscow between 1978 and 1983, the quartets are excellently reproduced in digital sound by Sviatoslav Richter, who maintains just enough shadow from the old Melodiya vinyl's audio vérité to make the music breathe passionately. Of course, it's the Borodins who really amp up the musical breath, whether...Read more


Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues / Tatiana Nikolaeva
Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Tatiana Petrovna Nikolayeva
Bmg/Melodiya - #19849 / June 13, 1995

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Inspired by Tatiana Nikolaeva's playing of Bach at an East German piano competition, Shostakovich composed this takeoff (not to be confused with a rip-off) on The Well-Tempered Clavier expressly for her on her return to Russia. It turned out to be one of the greatest and most profound piano works of our century, and one which, until recently, remained virtually unknown. Shostakovich isn't usually thought of as a keyboard composer--indeed, there's relatively little piano music in his output. This...Read more


more recommended recordings
·     Opera
·     Orchestral
works & recordings

  • Chamber Music
    Trios, Quartets, Quintets

  • Choral
    Secular and sacred choral music. Oratorios, Masses, Partsongs, Hymns, Carols

  • Instrumental
    Sonatas, Suites, Overtures, Minuets, Variations, Transcriptions, Dance Music

  • Orchestra
    Concertos, Symphonies

  • Theatrical Works
    Ballet, Stage, Incidental Music, Film Scores

  • Vocal and Opera
    Opera, Operetta, Song, Lieder, Musical Theater

Complete List of Works and Recordings

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Shopping and Product Search for
Angel/EMI Boxed Sets Decca Deutsche Grammophon ECM Store DVD-Audio Sheet
Music
Shop for Classical Music
Ballet Opera Symphony Sacred Early
Music
Renaissance
(c.1450-1600)
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(c.1600-1750)
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(c.1770-1830)
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(c.1820-1910)
Modern
Period

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