2013, Music

Symphony No. 14 (2013) by Dmitry Shostakovitch, performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Vasily Petrenko, with Gal James and Alexander Vinogradov

I have taken some time getting to know Shostakovitch and, on the whole, I have found him a little underwhelming, I guess because of his allegiance to the past. And I know I am coming at his symphonies backwards, by listening to the second last one first, but…

This is awesome. I am impressed by his amalgam of some pretty traditional melodic ideas with some (relatively!) radical approaches to tonality, scoring and, particularly, the form of the symphony itself. (I do not know if he was this radical in his earlier symphonies.)

And, without the proper context, I must say that I listen to this as a pretty remarkable work. Not necessarily a life-changer, but among the better symphonies (I have heard) from the sixties. It’s hearing something like this that makes me want to invest more time in a composer.


(Incidentally, I acquired this CD precisely because my dad does not like this symphony, which I find hilarious and illustrative of our very divergent musical tastes.)


Symphony No. 14 Op. 135 (1969)

  1. Adagio. “De profundis” (lyrics by Federico García Lorca)
  2. Allegretto. “Malagueña” (lyrics by Federico García Lorca)
  3. Allegro molto. “Loreley” (lyrics by Guillaume Apollinaire)
  4. Adagio. “Le Suicidé” (lyrics by Guillaume Apollinaire)
  5. Allegretto. “Les Attentives I” (On watch) (lyrics by Guillaume Apollinaire)
  6. Adagio. “Les Attentives II” (Madam, look!) (lyrics by Guillaume Apollinaire)
  7. Adagio. “À la Santé” (lyrics by Guillaume Apollinaire)
  8. Allegro. “Réponse des Cosaques Zaporogues au Sultan de Constantinople” (lyrics by Guillaume Apollinaire)
  9. Andante. “O, Del’vig, Del’vig!” (lyrics by Wilhelm Küchelbecker)
  10. Largo. “Der Tod des Dichters” (lyrics by Rainer Maria Rilke)
  11. Moderato. “Schlußstück” (lyrics by Rainer Maria Rilke)

Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vasily Petrenko, featuring Gal James (soprano) and Alexander Vinogradov (bass).

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