Works Orchestral Compositions

Scherzo. Op. 1

Opus SO Opus 2

Opus 1
1919 year

Orchestral Compositions of Different Years. Scores.
Piano Miniatures of Different Years


The Grand Hall of the House of Soviet Culture and Science in East Berlin

first publication:

Piano version in Vol. 109, DSCH, Moscow 2019; Orch. ver. in Vol. 10. Muzyka, M. 1984


RSALA rec. gr. 2048, inv. 35. RNMM rec. gr. 32, inv. 77.

Dedication: "To my teacher Maximilian Oseyevich Shteinberg"
Duration: 5’

"Everything that I was taught by Shteinberg I eagerly devoured, sucking in like a sponge all his instructions and advice. Skilfully and sensitively Shteinberg nurtured good taste in his pupils. What I owe to him most of all is learning to value and love good music..."

In New Collected Works, the piano version of Scherzo is designated with the additional number 1a.

Op. 1

     The piece was initially written for piano. Then its orchestral version appeared, which Shostakovich considered the main one: this was the version Shostakovich assigned the first of his opus numbers.
     Traditionally, Scherzo is dated to 1919, which year “Shostakovich mentioned in his opus lists. Later it was included in the Music Reference Guide published during his lifetime, as well as in all the known biographical works about the composer”. However, according to Olga Digonskaya, Scherzo, “as an independent orchestral work, was finished no earlier than July and no later than September 1921”, while Shostakovich “composed [the piano version] no earlier than the spring of 1920, presumably at the beginning of his second year” at the Leningrad Conservatory.
     In contrast to the orchestral version of Scherzo, which was not performed until the 1980s, the author played the piano version several times at the beginning of the 1920s.
     The main theme of Scherzo was later used in “Clockwork Doll”, the No. 6 from A Child’s Exercise Book (1945-1946), which shows that the author remembered the composition he did at the age of fifteen and considered the music relevant enough to return to it again twenty-five years later.
     Four fragments of the piano version of Scherzo were published as a facsimile by Olga Digonskaya.
     However, the Scherzo’s piano version has never been published before in full. Nor are there currently any recordings of its piano performances.
     In 1982, the symphonic version of Scherzo was recorded by the State Symphony Orchestra of theUSSR under the baton of Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (at theAll-Union Recording Studio, Moscow). The record came out in 1983 in the Dmitri Shostakovich. From Manuscripts of Different Years series (Melodiya). The score was first published in 1984 by Muzyka Publishers in Shostakovich’s Collected Works (Vol. 10).
     The world concert premiere of the symphonic version of Scherzo was held in the German Democratic Republic on 1 October 1986 in the Grand Hall of the House of Soviet Culture and Science in East Berlin. It was performed at the concert, which was organised by the Academy of Arts of the GDR for the composer’s eightieth birthday, by the Symphony Orchestra of the National Theatre of Rostock under the baton of Gerd Puls. Ten years later, on 17 February 1996, it was performed at London’s Royal Festival Hall by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Mark Elder. A recording of the concert was broadcast on BBC radio in May of the same year.


Symphony Orchestra of the Ministry of Culture of the USSR, conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky. 1982 // Melodia C10 19103 004 1983