Symphony No. 2. “Dedication to Oсtober”
Leningrad Philharmonic Great Hall. Leningrad Philharmony Symphony Orchestra and Leningrad State Academic Capella. Conductor N. Malko.
Premiere: November 5, 1927.
Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonia. Symphony Orchestra of the Leningrad Philharmonia and the choir of the Leningrad State Academic Capella. Conductor N. Malko.
"In 'October' I tried to convey the pathos of struggle and victory. I introduced into the arrangement a system of ultra-polyphony (27 simultaneous lines of sound). It sounds very dynamic."
"The ultra-polyphony passing into a polyphonic timbre turned out successfully.
The whole work is predominantly polyphonic. I made use of a canon and a fugue. The music for the chorus is arranged diatonically. The exposition of the whole work is dialectic and linear."
"There were only six rehearsals... the first was a trial run... I was present at a ll the other rehearsals and kept on giving Malko instructions... The choir sounds fine. By the way, in the choral part there is a small pause after the words 'bears the name of struggle!' The string players refused categorically to playpizzicato. I'd stake my life on the fact that the pizzicato is playable, but if a novice composer writes something difficult, the orchestra will maintain that it is impossible to play. I had to give in and accept arco... I still hope that one day this passage will be played properly".
"As far as the working-class public is concerned 'October' has convinced me that the path I set out on is the right one. When I am composing, I always bear in mind the following. Accessibility and clarity for the mass audience are crucial: the mass audience is the only true judge of music, because music is one of the arts with the widest mass appeal".
"Shostakovich's 'October' enjoyed outstanding success... The overwhelming sounds with their impetuous momentum grip the audience like a whirlwind and carry it away, aloft to victory... Shostakovich had almost a dozen curtain-calls".
"Shostakovich's 'October' is imbued with the pathos of the masses in revolt, which he has captured so perfectly".
Symphony No.2 "October"
with a final chorus to words by A. Bezymensky, for choir and orchestra.
Poco meno mosso
Meno mosso (without a break)
The Second Symphony “Dedication to October” with the finale sung by a choir to the words of Aleksandr Bezymensky, Op. 14, was written in 1927.
The Publicity Department of the State Publishing House Music Sector asked Shostakovich to write a symphony for the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution. The composer received the official order at the end of March1927, and as early as the beginning of June, the composer told the head of the Publicity Department, Lev Shulgin, who initiated the order, that he had already finished more than half of the score.
Shostakovich did not call this work a symphony at first. In the cited letter to Shulgin, he says, “I am wondering about the title...I think ‘symphonic poem’ would suit it best of all...”. After finishing the score, he defined its genre as a “symphonic dedication”. The composition was first performed and printed with this subtitle.
The premiere of the Second Symphony was held on 5 November 1927 in the Grand Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic during a festive concert for the Leningrad Education Employees Union. The symphony was performed by the Leningrad Philharmonic Symphonic Orchestra and Academy Capelle Choir under the button of Nikolai Malko.
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