Dmitri Dmitrijewitsch Shostakovich

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Dmitri Shostakovich (1950)

Dmitri Shostakovich ( Russian Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович ? / I , scientific transliteration Dmitrij Dmitrievič Shostakovich ; born September 12 . Jul / 25. September 1906 greg. In St. Petersburg ; † 9. August 1975 in Moscow ) was a Russian composer , pianist and Educator of the Soviet era . In addition to 15 symphonies, instrumental concerts, stage works and film music, he composed 15 string quartets, which are among the main works of the chamber music repertoire from the 20th century. Audio file / audio sample  


Shostakovich is next to Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971), Sergei Prokofjew (1891–1953), Sergei Rachmaninov (1873–1943) and Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915) the most important composer in Russia in the 20th century and was extraordinarily productive and versatile. He wrote hymns to the regime of Josef Stalin and at the same time kept his distance from the Stalinist system, which harassed him and kept him in fear of death for years. “To relive the history of our country between 1930 and 1970, it is enough to listen to Shostakovich's symphonies,” wrote the weekly newspaper Moskowskije Novosti . The cellist Mstislaw Rostropovich saw Shostakovich's symphonic oeuvre as a “secret history of Russia”, and Gottfried Blumenstein describes his work as an “apocalyptic soundtrack for the 20th century”.


1906–1925: childhood and studies

Memorial plaque on Shostakovich's birth house, 2 Podolskaya Street, Saint Petersburg

Shostakovich's immediate ancestors came from Siberia , his paternal grandfather (originally Szostakowicz) was of Polish origin and came from a Roman Catholic family. This grandfather was a Polish revolutionary who was involved in the January uprising of 1863/64. He was exiled to Narym near Tomsk in 1866 . When the time of his exile was over, Bolesław Szostakowicz decided to stay in Siberia. He eventually became a successful banker in Irkutsk and lived there with his large family. His son, Dmitri Boleslavowitsch Shostakowitsch, the composer's father, was born in exile in Narym in 1875, later attended the university in Saint Petersburg , from which he graduated in 1899 at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. He later worked as an engineer in Saint Petersburg. In 1903 he married the young Russian pianist Sofia Kokulina . The couple had a total of three children, Dmitri was the second. Despite the musical tradition in the family, the son was initially hardly interested in music; The mother was soon able to direct the interests of Dmitri, called "Mitja", and his older sister Maria to the piano .

The boy's musical talent developed through piano lessons, and Dmitri soon made his first attempts at composing. In 1917, the eleven-year-old witnessed a worker being shot dead by police officers during a demonstration. Mitja then composed a hymn to freedom and a funeral march for the victims of the revolution .

Because his piano teacher could no longer teach him anything, Shostakovich began in 1919 to study piano with Leonid Nikolayev and composition with Maximilian Steinberg at the Conservatory in Petrograd (Saint Petersburg's name from 1914 to 1924) . The director of the Conservatory, Alexander Glasunow, followed the development of this boy with perfect pitch with attention, but also skepticism, and occasionally also supported him financially. When Glazunov gave his student a much-needed scholarship, he confessed:

“I think his music is terrible. It's the first time I don't hear the music when I read the score. But that is not important. The future does not belong to me, but to this boy. "

In early 1923, a year after his father's death, the family was almost ruined due to the economic and political uncertainty of the post-revolutionary period. In addition, Shostakovich, who has always had poor health, was diagnosed with pulmonary and lymphatic tuberculosis . This suffering accompanied and shaped him all his life.

1926–1933: worldwide success

The sensational success of his Symphony No. 1 in F minor in 1925 brought Shostakovich, at the age of only nineteen, a degree from the Conservatory and worldwide recognition. The symphony was premiered on May 12, 1926 by the Leningrad Philharmonic under the direction of Nikolai Malko . At the first performance of this symphony, written as a thesis, the second movement was played again as an encore after an overwhelming applause. A year later, Bruno Walter conducted the symphony in Berlin, followed by performances in America under Leopold Stokowski and Arturo Toscanini . The composer Alban Berg wrote Shostakovich a letter of congratulation.

In the period that followed, Dmitri Shostakovich dealt with various contemporary styles of music such as futurism , atonality and symbolism , but went his own way. His music is a mixture of convention and revolution, which is based on a well-founded compositional craft and impresses with imaginative instrumentation and modern melodies and harmonies . He was inspired by the works of contemporary composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev , and from 1930 increasingly by the works of Gustav Mahler .

In March 1927 Shostakovich was commissioned to write a kind of hymn for the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution . Thereupon he composed the 2nd symphony “An den Oktober” in B major in the summer , one of his most avant-garde compositions of the time. With this symphony, however, Shostakovich struck the only possible musical path of a propagandistic commissioned composer for the Soviet government, which was misunderstood by Western music critics for a long time. But behind the apparent concessions to the Stalinist regime , Shostakovich hid a mixture of ridicule , sarcasm and criticism of the political and social conditions in many places .

“Marietta, at your request I will describe Shostakovich. [...] They believe that he is fragile, weak, closed, limitlessly unconventional and pure as a child. That is not completly correct. And if it were so, his great art could not have come about. It is exactly as you say. But he's tough, snappy, unusually clever, probably strong, despotic, and not that good at the same time. [...] You have to see him from this side too. Only then can one somehow understand his art. ”( Michail Soschtschenko 1941 about his friend Shostakovich in a letter to the Armenian writer Marietta Shaginjan .)

Shostakovich first aroused the anger of the censors with the ballet Der Bolzen , the grotesque piece about industrial sabotage was discontinued in 1931.

When he was recovering from composing his 2nd symphony, he met the Warsar siblings, the daughters of a well-known lawyer, in 1927. The young people spent their evenings playing poker. Shostakovich visited the Warsar family at every opportunity. He was drawn to Nina; Her family was not enthusiastic about this, however, as her daughter had not yet completed her mathematics and physics studies. But the two lovers prevailed and got married on May 13, 1932, the second attempt - at the first appointment a few months earlier, the groom had not appeared due to a mental crisis and only reappeared completely depressed a few days later.

1934–1936: Shostakovich and Stalinism

After Shostakovich's first opera Die Nase (based on Gogol's eponymous story ), a satire on the Russian bureaucracy that contains the first long drum solo in European music and about which contemporary composers such as György Ligeti commented with great admiration, it disappeared from the stage after 16 performances the composer began his second opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk , a work that was to cause a great stir. The world premiere on January 22, 1934 in Leningrad was a huge success. Two days later the second took place in Moscow. For two years, with almost 200 performances in Moscow and Leningrad, the work celebrated one success after another. Shostakovich's popularity and fame increased; it was celebrated by critics and audiences alike.

Two years after its premiere, on January 16, 1936, Stalin attended the performance of the opera in the Bolshoi Theater together with Molotov , Mikoyan and Zhdanov . Stalin was sitting in the government box, hidden behind a curtain, on the right above the orchestra pit . The box was shielded with steel plates to prevent possible attacks. The amplified brass section trumpeted straight into his ears. Shostakovich, who was also present, later complained that the “shashlik temperament” had run away with the Hungarian conductor and that the orchestra had given way too much of a good thing, especially in the interlude at the end of the first act, in which a coitus is illustrated. It is alleged that during the opera Stalin rose without a word and left the theater without having received Shostakovich in his box. In the climate of the time of permanent fear of falling from grace, this reaction was almost equivalent to an execution. "This is silly stuff, not music," Stalin told the Izvestia music correspondent .

On January 28, Pravda published an unsigned (that is, party-approved) article on opera, probably written by Stalin himself, "Chaos Instead of Music", in which the work was expressed as an expression of "left radical licentiousness" and "petty bourgeois innovation "Was scourged and condemned with the" formalism "charge. This was catastrophic due to the signaling effect. All performances were stopped; Shostakovich found out about it on a concert tour in the north. One after another, critics apologized and stumbled upon their previous opinions. For the next few months Shostakovich slept with a small suitcase under his bed, in his clothes, always ready to be picked up at night by the NKVD secret police, as was customary at the time. Then he suffered from depression and thoughts of suicide, which would accompany him at irregular intervals for decades. He was summoned several times to the then notorious Lubyanka secret service center , questioned about so-called " enemies of the people " and intimidated.

"Waiting for the execution is one of the subjects that have tortured me all my life, many aspects of my music speak of it."

Years later, during the thaw under Khrushchev , he revised Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk to a new version, which was premiered on January 8, 1963 under the new title Katerina Ismailowa . Some of the disreputable text passages have been defused.

1937–1953: composing under Stalin

After he had withdrawn his 4th Symphony in C minor due to the critical Pravda article and put it in a drawer, Shostakovich began work on his on April 18, 1937 under the official slogan of the “practical response of a Soviet artist to just criticism” moderate 5th symphony in D minor in the Crimea . Back in Leningrad, he learned that his sister's husband had been arrested and that she herself had been deported to Siberia .

After the premiere, the 5th symphony was officially presented as the return of the prodigal son to the cultural policy that was true to the line. The work became a great international success, and for a long time the march finale was seen as a glorification of the regime. Shostakovich's memoirs, which are controversial in their authenticity, claim that the triumphal march was in reality a death march :

“What is going on in the fifth should, in my opinion, be clear to everyone. The cheering is forced under threats. […] As if we were hit with a club and asked: You should cheer! You should cheer! And the beaten person gets up, can hardly stand on his feet. Go, march, mumble to yourself: We should cheer, we should cheer. You have to be a complete sucker not to hear that. "

The 7th Symphony in C major goes even further in this doctrine and is considered Shostakovich's most famous work. Regarding this symphony, according to the memoir, he said:

“I feel unquenchable pain for everyone who killed Hitler. But the thought of those murdered on Stalin's orders gives me no less pain ... "

The work was created in 1941 at the time of the siege of Leningrad by Hitler’s troops, while Shostakovich was assigned to the fire brigade and was working on his work under shell fire. The Beijing neurologist Wang Dajue reported that he in the 1950s with a leading Soviet neurosurgeons have worked; he told him that Shostakovich had been hit by a German shrapnel in Leningrad and that a few years later he had examined him with X-rays and found a metal splinter in the cornu inferius of the left cerebral ventricle . This caused Shostakovich to involuntarily hear different melodies again and again while tilting his head to the side, which he then used for composing. However, this has not been proven by independent sources, so that the reliability of this statement can be doubted.

In October 1941 Shostakovich was flown out of Leningrad with his family and was able to complete the symphony in Kuibyshev (Samara), where it was premiered on March 5, 1942 by the orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater under the direction of Samuil Samossud . The Moscow premiere on March 27 also took place under life-threatening circumstances, but even an air alarm could not induce the audience to go to the shelters. Stalin was keen to make the symphony known outside of the Soviet Union as a symbol of heroic resistance to fascism. On June 22, she conducted Sir Henry Wood in London, and Arturo Toscanini directed the first performance of the symphony in the United States, which took place in New York on July 19, 1942 with the NBC Symphony Orchestra and made Shostakovich on the front page of Time Magazine . His wish for a performance in Leningrad came true shortly afterwards: A special aircraft broke through the air blockade in order to fly the orchestral score to Leningrad. The concert on August 9th (conductor: Karl Eliasberg ) was broadcast by all Soviet radio stations. Shostakovich received the Stalin Prize for his work, as it was seen as an homage to the will to resist the starving population trapped by German troops. The interpretation of the symphony remains controversial to this day. The “memoirs” themselves speak of the fact that Shostakovich saw neither Hitler nor Stalin as the target of his symphony. Rather, there is a motif in the first sentence that is interpreted either as a "Hitler" or a "Stalin motif". In fact, it is a variation on the violence theme from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk . It appears in a form used in opera for state violence in the form of the police and as a condition for murder. The 7th Symphony was accused of the persecution of Soviet composers in 1948 due to its ambiguous interpretation in the speeches of Zhdanov.

The epic 8th Symphony in C minor , premiered in Moscow in 1943 under Yevgeny Mravinsky and often referred to as the “Stalingrad Symphony”, was created under the impact of the war. Contrary to the expectations that he would write something similarly triumphant after the “Leningrader”, which gave expression to the fateful victory of the Soviet Union over the advancing German troops in Stalingrad , the 8th Symphony is largely thoughtful, melancholy and ultimately shows none Satisfaction with victory, but rather heralds individual suffering and the sadness of the incredible loss of life. In its humanistic engagement, the symphony avoids grand heroic gestures. If the grandiose first movement (Adagio) and the two following movements are still characterized by apocalyptic heightening, sometimes aggressive and fast tempos, brooding, soft tones sound in the last two movements before the last movement fades away quietly and openly. After the war, the 8th Symphony fell victim to censorship, it was no longer performed, and even many radio recordings were deleted.

After the end of the Second World War, the music world expected a triumphant symphony - in the style of Beethoven's Ninth . But Shostakovich again failed Soviet criticism with his 9th Symphony in E flat major , because instead it is a work of almost Haydn simplicity, which ends with grotesque “circus music” - far from a grandiose finale.

So far, however, it has not been recognized that Shostakovich is hiding here, quoting the song Praise of High Mind from Gustav Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn , in which the donkey decides that the cuckoo sings more beautifully than the nightingale. The article by Jakob Knaus in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung of October 29, 2016 under the title The Secret of Shostakovich's 9th Symphony: The wisest of the wise - a donkey? After the end of the Second World War, Stalin had been described as the great victor and the “wisest of the wise”. The fact that the donkey prefers the cuckoo to the nightingale as a singer is due to the fact that the cuckoo sings only two tones and can therefore be understood by the general public; the nightingale, on the other hand, sings too complicated and must therefore be condemned as a formalist.

After Shostakovich had been the focus of criticism even before the war, after debates about contemporary Soviet poets and writers (including Anna Akhmatova ), a new discussion about modern Soviet music sparked again: Shostakovich and many well-known composers from the Soviet Union, e.g. B. Prokofiev or Chatschaturjan , were again accused of "formalism" and "foreignness" in 1948 by the Soviet composers' association and its president, Tikhon Khrennikov, under the ideological leadership of Andrei Zhdanov . Shostakovich continued to compose without addressing the allegations. Practically all of the important works of this time were intended exclusively for the drawer and were only premiered during the “thaw” or after the political changes in 1989/1990. His personal situation continued to correspond to that of the time after 1936: Stalin's grace determined his fate. Meanwhile worldwide a famous and respected composer, Shostakovich found himself in the Soviet Union again in a position to constantly stand between the threat of arrest on the one hand and awards for his work on the other.

In the fight against “formalism”, Shostakovich found himself severely attacked, especially after 1948, although he had received Stalin prizes several times. He made a name for himself with works that were apparently subordinate to socialist realism and withheld more problematic works (such as the emotionally charged 1st Violin Concerto , the song cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry and the 4th String Quartet with its unmistakably Jewish themes in the finale). A work with particularly clear language was the satirical piece Antiformalistischer Rajok , created as a result of the repressive cultural policy, the so-called Zhdanovshchina , in which two fictional comrades - Comrade One (Stalin) and Comrade Two (Schdanow) - each played a Georgian folk song melody or had a waltz sing the leadership's ideas about the required “positive” and “optimistic” mood in Soviet music. Shostakovich held back the explosive piece throughout his life.

During this time (1950/51) the 24 Preludes and Fugues op. 87 were written, inspired by Shostakovich's participation in the celebrations in Leipzig on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach's death.

1953–1961: Post-Stalinism

Stalin died in 1953 , and Shostakovich published his 10th Symphony in E minor , his reckoning with the dictator. According to the testimony of his son Maxim , the composer describes in the Scherzo (2nd movement Allegro) “the terrible face of Stalin”. It is a work of sadness and pain, but it ends with a gesture of personal triumph and self-assertion: the letter motif DSCH (in the notation D-Es-CH; quasi an analogue to the well-known BACH motif), Shostakovich's initials in German Notation. Here, in the final of the tithe, a single, emphatic D-Es-CH abruptly stops the "terrible" theme of the Scherzo, which previously interfered almost imperceptibly in a boisterous mood and threatened to usurp it; the symphony finally ends with repeated, triumphant chords of D-Eb-CH.

Shostakovich used the sequence of notes D-Es-CH thematically in many other works, for example in his 8th string quartet and his 1st cello concerto .

In 1957 the 11th Symphony in G minor followed with the subtitle "The Year 1905". 1905 refers to the St. Petersburg Bloody Sunday , when the Tsar shot an unarmed crowd who wanted to petition him. The 11th Symphony was intended to commemorate this incident and the subsequent unrest, which claimed over 1,000 lives. There is also a widespread view that Shostakovich referred to the 1956 uprising in Hungary. As in all of Shostakovich's oeuvre, however, such an interpretation cannot be interpreted in an anti-communist way. Similar to the 13th symphony , here especially the sentence “In the shop”, there is a deep connection to the individual suffering of ordinary people. On October 30, 1957, the world premiere took place under Natan Rachlin .

In 1958 Shostakovich was awarded the highly endowed Finnish Wihuri Sibelius Prize .

Renewed discussions followed, but gradually Shostakovich gained more recognition in the Soviet Union, benefited above all by countless performances and honors abroad: Among other things, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford . On June 8, 1958, a resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party was published, in which Shostakovich, Chatschaturjan , the late Prokofiev and other composers were rehabilitated and the criticism of the decree of February 1948 (see the Zhdanovshchina resolutions ) was withdrawn. After the premiere of the 12th Symphony in D minor , Shostakovich was accepted into the CPSU , which, as one could later read in letters to his confidante Isaak Glikman, put a heavy burden on Shostakovich. Outwardly, he was loyal to the Soviet Union and worked for a long time as secretary of the Union of Composers of the USSR. Little by little his earlier oeuvre was rehabilitated. There were re-performances of his operas The Nose and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk , which took place in a revised version as Katarina Ismailowa . He was allowed to leave the Soviet Union and accepted the GDR government's invitation to compose the music for the film Five Days - Five Nights . As a guest of the GDR government, he was accommodated near Dresden , in the small, rural climatic health resort of Gohrisch , in the guest house of the Council of Ministers. Here Shostakovich composed his only work written abroad, the 8th String Quartet . His frame of mind was still very much shaped by his most recent experiences, so the work, unlike officially suggested by a dedication “In Memory of the Victims of Fascism and War”, was less close by Shostakovich's impressions of what was largely destroyed in World War II Dresden influences, but bears strongly autobiographical traits and again contains implicit criticism of the Soviet regime. He composed the string quartet in the courtyard of the guest house, today Hotel Albrechtshof Gohrisch, by a small garden pool under a beech tree. After his return home, Shostakovich was able to teach again, and in 1961 he saw the belated premiere of his 4th Symphony under Kirill Kondrashin . The German premiere took place in 1963 by the Dresden Staatskapelle, also under Kondrashin.

1962–1975: late work

After a second unhappy marriage that lasted only three years, he married Irina Antonovna Supinskaya in 1962 .

Shostakovich was a professor at the Leningrad and Moscow Conservatoires . His students included important contemporary composers such as Edisson Denissow and Sofia Gubaidulina . During this time he also maintained close contacts with poets such as Joseph Brodsky and Oleksandr Bejderman .

In the mid-1960s, illnesses increased, Shostakovich suffered from chronic inflammation of the spinal cord , which led to progressive paralysis of the right hand. In 1966 he suffered a first heart attack , and five years later a second. With his 13th Symphony in B flat minor , Shostakovich came under criticism again, as the work, to the words of the poet Yevgeny Evtushenko, denounces Russian anti-Semitism; the work was canceled after a few performances. The 14th Symphony for soprano, bass and chamber orchestra dealt impressively with the subject of death and parting. In the last years of his life, beginning around the 2nd cello concerto, a clear reduction in the means and concentration of expression can be observed in Shostakovich's work, and his music experiences a clear sharpening of the harmony . In February 1967 Shostakovich wrote the Seven Romances based on words by A. Blok for soprano, violin, cello and piano. Its world premiere was given by David Oistrach , Mstislaw Rostropowitsch , Galina Wischnewskaja and Mieczysław Weinberg . This music of the seven romances , which is concentrated on the essentials, is considered to be Shostakovich's greatest achievement. "They are a masterpiece of vocal lyricism that is unparalleled in his work and is one of the most wonderful vocal cycles of our century."

Shostakovich's grave in Moscow's Novodevichy Cemetery

In late 1967 Shostakovich broke his leg and was unable to walk. Since then, he has spent several months in hospitals and nursing homes each year. The 15th Symphony in A major, his last, is a puzzling, puzzling, only at first glance friendly, rather abysmal look back at a composer's life full of ups and downs, filled with (self-) quotations. It was premiered by his son Maxim Shostakovich on January 8, 1972 in the great hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

His last completed work is a sonata for viola and piano (op.147, composed from April to July 5, 1975). In their sardonic, grotesque Scherzo, he used material from his unfinished (and at the time still unknown) opera The Players (1941–1942), and the finale pays homage to Beethoven . Shostakovich corrected the proofs four days before his death in hospital. The work was premiered after the composer's death on October 1, 1975 in Leningrad by the dedicatee Fyodor Druzhinin (viola) and by Mikhail Muntjan (piano); previously there was a private performance in the composer's house on September 25th.

Shostakovich died on August 9, 1975 of a heart attack. Among the many wreaths that adorned the grave was one from the KGB .

He is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Shostakovich Museum

In 2006 a Shostakovich Museum was set up in Saint Petersburg in the three-room apartment at 9 Maratstrasse, which the city's founders (cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and soprano Galina Vishnevskaya) gave to the city. Shostakovich lived in this apartment from 1914 to 1933, a. a. his student years. The museum also houses an archive of letters, photos, paintings, concert advertisements, and newspaper reviews. The museum is a branch of the Petersburg Theater Museum.


Shostakovich had a passionate interest in football and was the author of a chronicle about the early days of Soviet football.

Prizes, honors and awards

Dmitri Shostakovich on a Russian postage stamp (2000)


Stage works


  • Zygani ( The Gypsies ), o. Op. - Opera. Libretto: Alexander Sergejewitsch Pushkin ; lost except for three fragments of the piano reduction: duet (Semfira, Aleko), Arietta, fragment of a trio (Petrograd 1919/20)
  • Nos ( The Nose ), op.15 - Opera in three acts (15 images). Libretto: Evgeni Samjatin , Georgij Jonin, Aleksandr Prejs and Dmitri Schostakowitsch, based on Gogol's story Die Nase (Moscow / Leningrad June 1927 to June 24, 1928), premiere in Leningrad, Maly Operny , January 18, 1930
  • Orango , o. Op. - Opera fragment (1932) for solos, choir and orchestra. Libretto: Alexei Nikolajewitsch Tolstoi , Alexander Startschakow. Piano reduction, discovered by Olga Digonskaja in 2004. Orchestration: Gerard McBurney. Premiere Los Angeles December 2nd, 2011 with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Peter Sellars . German premiere (semi-staged) at Staatstheater Darmstadt May 13, 2018 under Will Humburg
  • Ledi Makbet Mzenskowo ujesda ( Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk ), op. 29 - Opera in four acts (nine pictures). Libretto: Aleksandr Prejs and Dmitri Schostakowitsch (Leningrad and others October 14, 1930 to December 17, 1932), UA Leningrad, Maly Operny , January 12, 1934
  • The great lightning , o. Op. - Komische Oper (unfinished). Libretto: Nikolai Nikolajewitsch Assejew (1933), WP Leningrad February 11, 1981 (concert version)
  • Skaska o pope io rabotnike jewo Balde ( The fairy tale of the pope and his servant Balda ), op. 36 - opera fragment (compiled by Sofja Chentowa in two acts). Libretto: Dmitri Shostakovich, based on Alexander Pushkin (Leningrad / Crimea 1934), premiered in Leningrad, Maly Theater September 28, 1980
  • Igroki ( The Players ), op. 63 - opera fragment. Libretto: based on Gogol , supplemented by Krzysztof Meyer (Kuibyschew December 1941 - June 1942), premiered Moscow September 18, 1978 (concert version), supplemented version: Wuppertal, Opernhaus June 12, 1983
  • Katarina Ismailowa , new version of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk , op. 114 (1956–1963), premiered in Moscow, Stanislavski-Nemirowitsch-Danchenko-Musiktheater January 8, 1963


  • Solotoi wek ( The Golden Age ), op. 22 - Ballet in three acts. Libretto: Alexander Ivanovsky (Leningrad autumn 1929 - February 1930), UA Leningrad, Academic Theater for Opera and Ballet October 26, 1930
  • Bolt ( The Bolt ) op. 27 - Ballet in three acts. Libretto: Viktor Smirnow (Leningrad 1930/31), UA Leningrad, Academic Theater for Opera and Ballet April 8, 1931
  • Swetly rutschei ( The bright brook ), op. 39 - Ballet in three acts (four images). Libretto: Fyodor Lopuchow and Adrian Piotrowski (Leningrad 1934/35), UA Leningrad, Academic Theater for Opera and Ballet June 4, 1935


  • Moscow, Tscherjomuschki , op. 105 - Operetta in 3 acts. Text: Wladimir Mass and Michail Tscherwinski (1957/58), Premiere Moscow, Operetta Theater January 24, 1959

Orchestral works



Suites and others

  • 1928 Tahiti Trot , op. 16, an orchestral version of Tea for Two
  • 1928 Two pieces by Domenico Scarlatti op. 17 for military orchestra
  • 1931 The Conditionally Murdered , op. 31, a critical review
  • 1934 Suite for jazz orchestra No. 1 , without op. (Originally op.38)
  • 1935 "Five Fragments", op. 42
  • 1938 Suite for jazz orchestra No. 2 , no op .; orchestrated by Gerard McBurney in 2000
  • 1942 Festmarsch , no op., For wind orchestra
  • 1947 “Festival Overture”, op. 96
  • 1955 suite for variety orchestra
  • 1967 "October", op. 131
  • 1970 March of the Soviet Militia op. 139 for wind orchestra

Film music (selection)

The leitmotif of Stanley Kubrick's film Eyes Wide Shut is the 1955 Waltz No. 2 from Shostakovich's Suite for Variety Orchestra (incorrectly referred to as Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 2 in the credits of the film and in various later recordings ).

Chamber music

  • Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8 (1923)
  • Three pieces for cello and piano op.9 (lost) (1923/24)
  • Prelude and Scherzo for string octet / string orchestra op.11 (1924/25)
  • Sonata in D minor for cello and piano, op.40 (1934)
  • String Quartet No. 1 in C major, Op. 49 (1938); arranged as a chamber symphony for string orchestra, op. 49a by Rudolf Barschai
  • Piano quintet in G minor op.57 (1940)
  • Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67 (1944)
  • String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68 (1944)
  • String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73 (1946); arranged as a chamber symphony for chamber orchestra with woodwinds, harp and celesta, op. 73a by Rudolf Barschai
  • String Quartet No. 4 in D major, Op. 83 (1949); arranged as a chamber symphony for string orchestra, op. 83a by Rudolf Barschai
  • String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major op.92 (1952)
  • String Quartet No. 6 in G major op.101 (1956)
  • String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor op.108 (1960)
  • String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 (1960), officially dedicated to the victims of fascism and war; arranged as a chamber symphony (or Sinfonietta ) in C minor for string orchestra, op.110a (or op.110bis) by Rudolf Barschai (this arrangement was legitimized by Shostakovich)
  • String Quartet No. 9 in E flat major, Op. 117 (1964)
  • String Quartet No. 10 in A flat major, Op. 118 (1964); arranged as a chamber symphony in A flat major for string orchestra, op.118a (or op.118bis) by Rudolf Barschai
  • String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 122 (1966)
  • String Quartet No. 12 in D flat major op.133 (1968)
  • Sonata for violin and piano op.134 (1968)
  • String Quartet No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 138 (1970)
  • String Quartet No. 14 in F sharp major op.142 (1973)
  • String Quartet No. 15 in E flat minor, Op. 144 (1974); In 1991 arranged with the consent of the composer's widow as a requiem for string orchestra, op.144bis by Mischa Rachlewski
  • Sonata for viola and piano op.147 (1975)

Piano music

  • Eight preludes for piano solo op.3 (1919/20)
  • Five preludes for piano solo, without op. [From: 24 preludes in collaboration with G. Klements and P. Feldt] (1920/21)
  • Three fantastic dances for piano solo op.5 (1922)
  • Suite in F sharp minor for 2 pianos op.6 (1922)
  • Sonata No. 1 for piano solo op.12 (1926)
  • Aphorisms - ten pieces for piano solo op.13 (1927)
  • 24 preludes for piano solo op.34 (1932/33)
  • Polka for piano solo, o. Op. [Arr. from the ballet The golden age op. 22, 1927–1930] (1935)
  • Sonata No. 2 in B minor for piano solo op.61 (1942)
  • Six children's pieces for piano solo op.69 (1944/45)
  • 24 preludes and fugues for piano solo op.87 (1950/51)
  • Concertino in A minor for 2 pianos op.94 (1953)
  • The Bells of Novorossiysk for piano solo, o. Op. (1960)
  • Seven puppet dances for piano solo, o. Op. (1952–1962)
  • Polka for piano, 4 hands, without op. [Arr. of the work of the same name for solo piano, o. op., 1935] (1962)
  • Tarantella for 2 pianos, o. Op. [Arr. from the film music Die Stechfliege / Die Hornisse op. 97, 1955] (1963)

Singing voice and piano

  • Two fables after Krylow op.4 (1922)
  • Six romances based on texts by Japanese poets op.21 (1928/31)
  • Madrigal for voice and piano or op. (1933)
  • Four romances after Pushkin op.46 (1936/37)
  • 27 romances and songs by various composers arranged for soldiers' concerts or op. (1941)
  • Six romances after verses by English poets op.62 (1942)
  • Two songs for voice and piano op.72 (1945)
  • From the Jewish Folk Poetry op.79 (1948)
  • Two romances based on words by Lermontow op.84 (1950)
  • Four songs for voice and piano op.86 (1951)
  • Greek songs without op. (1954)
  • Four monologues based on words by Pushkin, Op. 91 (1952)
  • Five romances for bass and piano op.98 (1954)
  • Spanish songs op.100 (1956)
  • Satires (Pictures from the Past) op. 109 (1960); 1980 arranged for voice and orchestra by B. Tischtschenko
  • Five romances based on words from the magazine Krokodil No. 24 of August 30, 1965 op.121 (1965)
  • Foreword to my entire oeuvre and a few brief thoughts on this foreword op.123 (1966)
  • "Spring, Spring" op. 128 (1967)
  • Six romances after words by Marina Tsvetaeva op.143 (1973)
  • Suite after words by Michelangelo op.145 (1974)
  • Four poems by Captain Lebjadkin op.146 (1975)
  • There were kisses o. Op. (1954?)
  • World peace song "For peace in the world" and numerous other mass songs (1940s and 1950s)

Various vocal works

  • Ten Russian Folk Songs for solo voices, choir and piano or op. (1951)
  • Antiformalistic Rajok for solos, mixed choir and piano without op. (1948–1957)
  • Seven romances after words by A. Blok for soprano, violin, violoncello and piano op.127 (1967)
  • Against the cooling morning

Works for voice and orchestra

  • Six romances based on texts by Japanese poets op.21 (1928/31)
  • Three romances after Pushkin, op., Orchestral version of the romances op.46
  • Six romances based on verses by English poets op.62a, orchestral version of the romances op.62 (1942/43)
  • Eight English and American folk songs without op. (1944)
  • From the Jewish folk poetry op.79a, orchestral version of the cycle op.79 (1948/63)
  • Six romances for bass and orchestra, orchestral version of the romances op.62 (1942/71)
  • 14th Symphony op.135 (based on poems by García Lorca , Apollinaire , Küchelbecker and Rilke ) for soprano, bass, string orchestra and percussion (1969)
  • Six romances based on words by Marina Tsvetaeva op.143a, orchestral version of the romances op.143 (1973/74)
  • Suite based on words by Michelangelo op.145a, orchestral version of the suite op.145 (1974)

Works for choir and orchestra

  • Two fables after Krylow for alto, alto choir and orchestra op.4 (1921/2)
  • 2nd Symphony in B major op. 14 "An den Oktober" for mixed choir and orchestra (1927)
  • 3rd Symphony in E flat major, Op. 20 "Zum 1. Mai" for mixed choir and orchestra (1929)
  • Poem to the Homeland for solos, choir and orchestra op.74 (1947)
  • The song of the woods. Oratorio op.81 (1949)
  • The sun shines over our home. Cantata op.90 (1952)
  • 13th Symphony in B flat minor op. 113 " Babi Yar " (based on poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko ) for bass, male choir and orchestra (1962)
  • The execution of Stefan Rasin . Poem op.119 (1964)

Works for choir a cappella

  • Ten poems based on the words of revolutionary poets from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century op.88 (1951)
  • Two arrangements of Russian folk songs op.104 (1957)
  • The loyalty. Eight ballads based on verses by Yevgeny Dolmatowski op.136 (1970)

Works by other composers on Shostakovich


-- Alphabetical --

  • Roy Blokker, Robert Dearling: The Music of Dmitri Shostakovich. The Symphonies. The Tantivy Press, London 1979, ISBN 0-8386-1948-7 .
  • Heinz Alfred Brockhaus: Dmitri Schostakowitsch. Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig 1962.
  • Pauline Fairclough, David Fanning (Eds.): The Cambridge Companion to Shostakovich. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2008, ISBN 978-0-521-84220-4 .
  • Laurel Fay: Shostakovich. A life. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2000, ISBN 0-19-513438-9 .
  • Laurel Fay: Shostakovich and his world. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ 2004, ISBN 0-691-12069-2 .
  • Bernd Feuchtner : And art gagged by gross power. Dmitri Shostakovich. Sendler, Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-88048-078-8 .
  • Bernd Feuchtner: Need, cunning and lust. Shostakovich in his century . Wolke, Hofheim 2017, ISBN 978-3-95593-077-6 .
  • Marco Frei: Chaos instead of music - the Pravda campaign from 1936 to 1938 and socialist realism. Pfau, Saarbrücken 2006, ISBN 3-89727-330-6 .
  • Detlef Gojowy : Shostakovich . Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1983, ISBN 3-499-50320-4 .
  • Isaak Glikman: Story of a friendship - the letters of Dmitry Shostakovich to Isaak Glikman. Faber, London 2001, ISBN 0-571-20982-3 .
  • Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen and Laurenz Lütteken : Between Confession and Refusal - Shostakovich and the Symphony in the 20th Century. Bärenreiter, Kassel, ISBN 3-7618-1830-0 .
  • Derek C. Hulme: Dmitri Shostakovich Catalog: The first hundred years and beyond. With a foreword by Irina Schostakowitsch. 4th edition, Scarecrow Press, Lanham 2010, ISBN 978-0-8108-7264-6 .
  • Sofia Mikhailovna Khentova: Shostakovich, zhizn ʹ i tvorchestvo. Life and work . Sovetsky kompozitor, Leningrad 1986, OCLC 14215072 .
  • Michael Koball: Pathos and the grotesque - The German tradition in the symphonic work of Dmitri Shostakovich. E. Kuhn, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-928864-50-5 .
  • Karen Kopp: Form and content of the symphonies of Dmitrij Schostakowitsch . Publishing house for systematic musicology, Bonn 1990, ISBN 3-922626-53-X .
  • Eckart Kröplin : Early Soviet Opera. Shostakovich, Prokofiev. Henschelverlag Art and Society, Berlin 1985, DNB 870672428.
  • Natalja Valerewna Lukjanowa: Dmitri Dmitrijewitsch Schostakowitsch. Verlag Neue Musik, Berlin 1982 (Russian: Verlag “Musyka” Moscow 1980).
  • Ian MacDonald: The New Shostakovich. Northeastern University Press, Boston 1990, ISBN 1-55553-089-3 .
  • Ivan Martynov: Dmitriy Shostakovich . Henschel, Berlin 1947.
  • Thomas Metscher : Socialist avant-garde and realism - on the musical aesthetics of Dmitri Shostakovich: a review of the Shostakovich year (= Masch scripts ). Neue Impulse-Verlag, Essen 2008.
  • Krzysztof Meyer : Shostakovich. His life, his work, his time. Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 1995, ISBN 3-7857-0772-X .
  • Christopher Norris: Shostakovich - the man and his music. New edition, Lawrence & Wishart, London 1984, ISBN 978-0-85315-585-0 .
  • Lothar Seehaus: Dmitri Schostakowitsch. Life and work. Noetzel, Wilhelmshaven 1986, ISBN 3-7959-0409-9 .
  • Victor Seroff: Dmitri Shostakovich: the life and background of a soviet composer. AA Knopf, New York 1947.
  • Iwan Sollertinski : From Mozart to Shostakovich. Philipp Reclam junior, Leipzig 1979.
  • Frank Schneider: Never write a note that sounds wrong. Dmitri Shostakovich ("World, what do I ask about you? Political portraits of great composers"), Philipp Reclam junior, Leipzig 1988, ISBN 3-379-00358-1 .
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Experiences. Philipp Reclam junior, Leipzig 1983.
  • Dmitri Schostakowitsch to Marietta Schaginjan (letters), in: “Soviet literature” 1984, issue 1, Moscow 1984 (German edition).
  • Daniel Shitomirski: Blindness as Protection from the Truth - Notes by one of the participants on music and musical life in the former Soviet Union . E. Kuhn, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-928864-18-1 .
  • Elizabeth Wilson: Shostakovich - A Life Remembered . Princeton University Press, Princeton 1995, ISBN 0-691-04465-1 .
  • Solomon Wolkow, Dmitri Schostakowitsch: The memoirs of Dmitri Schostakowitsch . List, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-548-60335-1 .
    The authenticity of these memoirs is controversial in research, cf. for example:
    • Allan B. Ho, Dmitry Feofanov: Shostakovich Reconsidered. London 1998, ISBN 0-907689-56-6 .
    • Francis Maes: A History of Russian Music. Berkeley 2002, ISBN 0-520-21815-9 , p. 344 f.
  • Solomon Volkov: Stalin and Shostakovich . Propylaea, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-549-07211-2 .
  • Günter Wolter: Dmitri Schostakowitsch - A Soviet tragedy. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1991, ISBN 3-631-43466-9 .

Shostakovich Studies

  • Shostakovich in Germany (= Shostakovich studies. Volume 1). E. Kuhn, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-928864-55-6 .
  • Dmitri Schostakowitsch - composer and contemporary witness (= Schostakowitsch studies. Volume 2). E. Kuhn, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-928864-70-X .
  • Dmitri Schostakowitsch and the Jewish musical heritage (= Schostakowitsch studies. Volume 3). E. Kuhn, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-928864-75-0 .
  • Dmitri Schostakowitsch - The timeless late work (= Schostakowitsch studies. Volume 4). E. Kuhn, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-928864-78-5 .
  • Shostakovich's String Quartets - An International Symposium (= Shostakovich Studies. Volume 5). E. Kuhn, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-928864-80-7 .
  • Shostakovich and the consequences - Russian music between adaptation and protest - An international symposium (= Shostakovich studies. Volume 6). E. Kuhn, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-928864-93-9 .
  • Enemy of the people Dmitri Shostakovich. A documentation of the public attacks against the composer in the former Soviet Union (= Opyt. Volume 3). E. Kuhn, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-928864-26-2 .


  • The noise of time. Theatrical meditation on the life and work of Dmitri Shostakovich, Great Britain, 2000, concept and staging: Simon McBurney , Théâtre de Complicité, London, music: 15th Shostakovich string quartet performed by the Emerson String Quartet , summary:, review:.


  • Dmitri Schostakowitsch - Altowaja sonata. Documentary by Semjon Aranowitsch and Alexander Sokurow, Leningrad Studio for Documentary Films (LSDF), USSR 1981, 75 min. First public presentation in 1987; international release in 2000. DVD released in 2005 by Ideale Audience International. (The film's complicated survival story under difficult political conditions is described in the accompanying material.) Based on the composer's last work, the Sonata for Viola Op. 147, stations from the composer's life are described. Contains many rare documents, e.g. B. a recording of a telephone conversation between the composer and the violinist David Oistrach about the 2nd Violin Concerto Op. 129 and an excerpt from the finale of the 5th Symphony Op. 47 with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein in Moscow in the presence of the composer.
  • Testimony ( Testimony ), Biopic, United Kingdom, 1987/1988, 157 min, based on the book by Solomon Volkov, Producer. Tony Palmer , directed by Tony Palmer, Production: Isolde film in collaboration with The Mandemar Group, Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) , Nederlandse Omroepstichting (NOS), Danmarks Radio (DR), Sveriges Television (SVT), Channel Four Films, with Ben Kingsley as Dmitri Shostakovich
  • The War Symphonies: Shostakovich against Stalin. Documentary, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, 1997, 76 min., Director: Larry Weinstein, production: Rhombus Media Inc. (Toronto), ZDF , with Dmitri Shostakovich in historical recordings; with Valery Gergiev , Galina Schostakowitsch, Isaak Glikman, Tichon Chrennikow , Abram Gosenpud and many others With excerpts from symphonies 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mzensk , from the anti-formalist Rajok , and various film scores.
  • Dmitri Shostakovich - a man with many faces. Documentary, Germany, 2015, 55 min., Script and director: Reiner E. Moritz , production: RM Arts, first broadcast: February 8, 2015 on ARD-alpha , synopsis by ARD . Interviews with Shostakovich, his son Maxim and his companion Rudolf Barschai .


Dmitri Shostakovich is one of the central figures in the following literary works:

See also

Web links

Commons : Dmitri Dmitrijewitsch Schostakowitsch  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

About Shostakovich

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Krzysztof Meyer: Schostakowitsch. Bergisch Gladbach 1995, p. 38.
  2. Johannes Schild: About Shostakovich's elective affinities with Mahler. In: Arnold Jacobshagen (ed.): Gustav Mahler and the musical modern. Steiner, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-515-09902-8 , pp. 167-220.
  3. Not only he was affected by such "surprises" at the time: it was the era of the "Great Terror"
  4. Donal Henahan: Myths and music . In: The Milwaukee Journal. August 12, 1983, p. 12.
  5. ^ Cover page of TIME magazine (1942): Shostakovich as a firefighter.
  6. Jakob Knaus: The wisest of the wise - a donkey? A courageous secret in the 9th Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , October 29, 2016, p. 26.
  7. Juri Borissowitsch Jelagin : Art and Artists in the Soviet State , Fischer Taschenbuch No. 401, Frankfurt, June 1961, p. 208
  8. ^ Shostakovich in Gohrisch . In: International Shostakovich Days Gohrisch .
  9. ^ Krzysztof Meyer: Schostakowitsch. Bergisch Gladbach 1995, p. 480.
  10. Martin Krauss: As happy as a child . In: The daily newspaper: taz . June 9, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 , p. 39 ( [accessed June 11, 2018]).
  11. Honorary Members: Dmitri Shostakovich. American Academy of Arts and Letters, accessed March 22, 2019 .
  12. ^ Inscription Deutschordenshof, passage: Dimitri Schostakowitsch 1969 on: ; Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  13. ^ Lutz D. Schmadel : Dictionary of Minor Planet Names . Fifth Revised and Enlarged Edition. Ed .: Lutz D. Schmadel. 5th edition. Springer Verlag , Berlin , Heidelberg 2003, ISBN 978-3-540-29925-7 , pp. 186 (English, 992 pp., [ONLINE; accessed on September 3, 2019] Original title: Dictionary of Minor Planet Names . First edition: Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg 1992): “1976 YQ 2 . Discovered 1976 Dec. 16 by LI Chernykh at Nauchnyj. "
  14. ^ Todd McCarthy: Orango: Concert Review. In: The Hollywood Reporter . December 8, 2011, accessed April 24, 2018 .
  15. Marco Frei: The present of history. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . September 6, 2012, accessed April 24, 2018 .
  16. Dmitri Schostakowitsch
  17. Summary:  The Noise of Time , Saison 2000, Théâtre de Complicité ( Memento from April 25, 2003 in the Internet Archive )
  18. Review of The Noise of Time : Shostakovich and His Era; A Haunting Epilogue to a Life. In: New York Times, March 4, 2000.
  19. ^ Review by Max Nyffeler: Shostakovich. In: neue musikzeitung , 2009, No. 2, accessed on December 27, 2017.
  20. Review by James Lasdun: The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes review - how Shostakovich survived Stalin. In: The Guardian , January 22nd, 2016.
       Review by Hedley Twidle: 'The Noise of Time', by Julian Barnes. In: Financial Times , January 15, 2016.
  21. Martin Ebel, editor culture: A dead person on vacation. Book review. In: Tages-Anzeiger . February 21, 2017. Retrieved March 4, 2017 .