Funeral and Triumphal Prelude in Memory of the Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad. For orchestra
Moscow. Great Hall of the Conservatoire. State Symphony Orchestra. Conductor Y. Svetlanov.
1984 .D. Shostakovich, Collected Works, Vol. 11, Moscow.
In the archive of the composer’s family and the Russian State Archive for Literature and Art (Stack 2048, Inv.3, Item 2).
“Recently I received a letter from Volgograd with a request for me to write music in memory of the fallen as I had done a few years previously for Novorossiisk...
I wrote a short Funeral-Triumphal Prelude in memory of the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad. I shall be happy if it is played on the day the monument on Mamaev Hill is opened.”
Funeral and Triumphal Prelude in Memory of the Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad
In the spring of 1966, building of a memorial ensemble to the Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad on the Mamaev Kurgan in Volgograd was at the final stage. Musical accompaniment was chosen for the soundtrack in the Hall of Military Glory. D.D. Shostakovich commented on how the Prelude was written: ‘I recently received a letter from Volgograd asking me to write music in memory of fallen heroes, as I had done several years ago for Novorossiysk, where my ‘Novorossiysk Chimes’ is heard every hour on the square, by the Eternal Flame. I wrote a short funeral and triumphal prelude in memory of the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad. I would be happy for it to be played at the unveiling ceremony of the monument at the Mamayev Kurgan.’
The exact dates the Prelude was written are unknown—they are not given in the author’s manuscript of the score, the piano arrangement, or the sketches that have survived.
For unknown reasons, the music the composer wrote was not used for the memorial complex, nor was it played at the ceremonial unveiling of the cultural-historical monument-ensemble to the Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad held on 15 October 1967.
The premiere of the Funeral and Triumphal Prelude was held on 24 October 1967 in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory during the final concert of the Week of Soviet Music in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. The premiere was performed by the USSR State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yevgeni Svetlanov. The recording was done by the Symphony Orchestra of All-Union Radio and Television under the baton of Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. The Funeral and Triumphal Prelude was also recorded by Vladimir Ashkenazy with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1992).
The composition was first published in an arrangement for wind orchestra in 1969, then republished repeatedly in the same arrangement. The original score was published for the first time in Volume 11 of Shostakovich’s Collected Works in 1984.