Celebration Concert which was given in the Bolshoi Theatre of the USSR by the Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre, Conductor. S. Samosud. Premieres abroad: November 16, 1955. New York. Conductor. M. Abravanel. February 16-17, 1956. New York. Carnegie Hall. Symphony Orchestra. Conductor D. Mitropoulos.
1955. "Muzfond" Publishers, Moscow.
Hand-written score in the RNMM (Stack 2048, Inv. 1, Item 22).
Premiere: November 6, 1954 at a Celebration Concert which was given in the Bolshoi Theatre of the USSR by the Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre Conductor. S. Samosud.
The Festive Overture was included by Shostakovich in the programme for the only concert in which he appeared as a conductor and performer of his own works (November 12, 1962 in the town of Gorky with the symphony orchestra of the Gorky Philharmonia).
First Edition: "Muzfond" Publishers, Moscow, 1955.
Premieres abroad: November 16, 1955. New York. Conductor. M. Abravanel. February 16-17, 1956. New York. Carnegie Hall. Symphony Orchestra. Conductor D. Mitropoulos.
"In this work I seek to convey the mood of a man who has gone through the tribulations of the war years and, after the defeating the enemies of his Motherland, is now engaged in the reconstruction of his country. I want to embody in musical terms the pathos of peace-time labour on the construction sites of the new Five-Year Plan. The overture does not contain sharp dramatic conflicts. Its themes are melodious, its orchestral techniques varied."
Dmitri Shostakovich wrote the Festive Overture long before its first public performance.
The premiere was held on 6 November 1954 at the Bolshoi Theatre, where the overture was performed by the theatre’s symphony orchestra under the baton of Aleksandr Melik-Pashayev.
The Festive Overture quickly became popular among musicians and the public. During the 1954/1955 concert season, it was performed several times in Moscow: on 27 November in the Grand Hall of the Conservatory at Shostakovich’s concert-portrait (Moscow State Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Samuil Samosud), on 28 November during another concert-portrait at the House of Scientists (the same performers as on 27 November), on 7 March and 22 April 1955 in the Grand Hall of the Conservatory (the same performers); on 23 February in Leningrad in the Grand Hall of the Philharmonic (Leningrad State Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, conductor Yevgeni Mravinsky) and on 22 April (Leningrad State Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, conductor Karl Eliasberg). The following season, the overture was also performed repeatedly in auditoriums of Moscow10 and Leningrad. Around the same time, the first overseas premieres of the overture were held—it was performed on 16 November 1955 in the USA by the Utah Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maurice Abravanel, and on 16 February 1956, the composition was performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos. In 1962, the overture was performed for the first time in Great Britain: on 27 August during the London Royal Albert Hall ‘Prom’ by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the BBC under the baton of George Hurst and on 3 September during the Edinburgh Festival dedicated to Shostakovich’s oeuvre in Asher Hall by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the baton of Alexander Gibson.
Shostakovich’s Festive Overture was repeatedly performed during prominent international events—for example, at the 6th and 7th World Youth and Student Festivals, the first of which was held in Moscow in July-August 1957, becoming the largest event of this kind, and the second in July-August 1959 in Vienna. On 19 July 1980, the introductory fanfares of the overture sounded as a peculiar musical symbol at the opening ceremony of the 22nd Summer Olympic Games held in Moscow.
The full score of the Festive Overture was first published in 1955 (Muzfond, Moscow). The next publication appeared in 1970 (Muzyka Publishers, Moscow). In 1984, the score was printed in Vol. 11 of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Collected Works (Muzyka Publishers, Moscow). Several arrangements of the overture were also published—Valery Petrov’s for large wind orchestra (Muzgiz, Moscow, 1958), Mikhail Vakhutinsky’s for wind orchestra (Muzyka Publishers, Moscow, 1977), for piano four hands by Emin Khachaturian (Sovetskiy kompozitor Publishers, Moscow, 1960) and Aron Bubelnikov (Muzgiz, Leningrad, 1961). The score was first published overseas in 1957 in New York (Leeds Publishers); then the overture was printed twice by Edwin F. Kalmus Publishers (Boca Raton, USA). In 1997, the score was published by a Japanese publishing house, Zen-On Music (republished with Sikorski in 2012). There are also several adaptations of the overture for wind orchestra published overseas: by Donald Hunsberger (MCA Music, 1965; republished in 2000 by Schirmer and Hal Leonard), Peter Kitson (Kirklees Music, 1992) and Takeda Takakhashi (De Haske, 1997) and others.
- USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: E. Svetlanov 1978 // Melody C 10-10399-400, 1978
- Scottish National Orchestra. Conductor: N. Jarvey 1987 // Chandos ABRD 1279, 1988
- University of Minnesota Orchestra. Conductor: F. Bencrishutto 1969 // Mark MES 40400,
- Japanese children's wind instrument ensemble led by Tokutsu 1972 // JWR WA-1187-B,
- Scottish National Orchestra. Conductor: Jarvey N. 1987-1988 // CHANDOS CHAN 7000, 1994
- Scottish National Orchestra. Conductor: Jarvey N. 1987 // CHANDOS CHAN 8587, 1988
- London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Shostakovich M.D. 1990 // COLLINS 11082, 1990
- Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Muti R. 1992 // EMI CLASSICS 0777 7 54803 2 0, 1993
- Grand Symphony Orchestra of the Central Television and All-Union Radio. Conductor: Svetlanov E.F. 1955 // REVELATION RV 1006, 1996
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Ashkenazi V.D. 1994 // DECCA 436 762-2 D H, 1994
- London Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Litton E. 1988 // UV VIRGIN CLASSICS 7243 5 61 113 2 8, 1994
- Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: C. Ancherl. 1964 // Supraphon SV 8187, 1965
- Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: C. Ancherl. 1964 // Supraphon SUA 10576 Mono SUA ST 50576 Stereo, 1965
- Symphony Orchestra of the Plovdiv Philharmonic. Conductor: D. Petkov. 1978 // Balkanton BCA 10212