Piano Pieces from 1918-1920
"Funeral March in Memory of the Victims of the Revolution" — the author’s copy kept in family archive of Olga Belova, the greatgranddaughter of Nina Kokoulina, St. Petersburg, sheet 2rev.; "Nostalgia" — The manuscript kept in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Archive, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 271, 1 sheet; "Piece in C major" — The manuscript kept in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Archive, rec. gr. 1, section 1, f. 264/1, 4 sheets; "Prelude-March" — The manuscript kept in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Archive, rec. gr. 1, section 1, f. 264/1, sheets 4-6; "In the Forest" — The manuscript kept in Shostakovich’s Archive, rec. gr. 1, section 1, f. 264/1, sheets 6-8rev; "Bagatelle" — The manuscript kept in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Archive, rec. gr. 1, section 1,f. 270, 1 sheet; "Minuet, Prelude, Intermezzo" — The copy RNMM, rec. gr. 32, f. 44, 2 sheets.
Funeral March in Memory of the Victims of the Revolution. Sans op. 1918
The “Funeral March” was dedicated to the memory of Ministers of the Provisional Government Fedor Fedorovich Kokoshkin and Andrei Ivanovich Shingarev, who were killed during the night of 7 January 1918 by anarchist sailors while undergoing treatment in the Mariinsky Hospital. A little earlier, between January and April 1917, Shostakovich was an involuntary participant in several events related to the revolutionary movement.
The composition is based on the rhythmic and textural formulas of the funeral march. In terms of form, this is a repeated period rather than a usual three-part structure with a middle part in major mode.
The piece is being published for the first time. It was previously published only as a facsimile.
Nostalgia. Sans op. 1918
Another version of the title is “Soldier Reminiscing about His Homeland”. This may be either the piece’s initial name or its intended subtitle.
Along with the piece “Reminiscence”, “Nostalgia” belonged to the cycle the author designated as Op. 5.
Judging from the content and the initial title, it can be presumed that the work was a response to the events of the First World War.
“Nostalgia” was later renamed “Melancholia”, and with this title was included in the exercise book bearing the inscription “1919” on the cover. However, since the last four bars of “Melancholia” have not survived, the first version of the piece is being published.
“Nostalgia” has not been published or performed before, and was put out only in the form of a facsimile.
[Piece in C Major]. Sans op. 1919
Shostakovich included three piano pieces of 1919 in an exercise book titled “1919”. These are a “Piece in C major”, which does not have an author’s heading; “Prelude-March”; and “In the Forest”. The fourth piece, “Melancholia”, coincides with the “Nostalgia” of 1918 and appears in the exercise book in an incomplete form. The pieces have not been published before. There is no information about their performances.
The “Piece in C major” might have been performed as a prelude at entrance exams to the conservatory in September 1919. This assumption is based on the fact that it is dated as 1919, the presence in the author’s manuscript of the title “I Prelude”, entered by another person, and the nature of the music built on genre formulas of the prelude. Moreover, the main theme of this piece, by its general textural outline, anticipates the beginning of the Prelude in C major from Op. 34.
Prelude-March. Sans op. 1919
The “Prelude-March” is another, along with the “Funeral March”, early composition in the genre of “marche funèbre”, more innovative in texture and form and more complicated in piano technique. The theme of the “Prelude-March” was used in the “Piece in C sharp minor”, a relatively large-scale composition in passagework texture that has not survived in full.
This piece also belongs to the exercise book called “1919”.
In the Forest. Sans op. 1919
The piece “In the F orest” from the same exercise book titled “1919” is possibly related to the time Shostakovich studied with Georgy Bruni—it is known that this professor, who encouraged improvisation, offered Shostakovich themes related to nature: “In the Forest”, “In the Meadow”, “The Little Stream”. The piece’s first section was written in imitation of Liszt’s “Forest Murmurs”—sextuplets of semiquavers in the right hand accompany the solo in the left. In the second section (Tempo di valse), trills appear in the upper register, while in the recapitulation they are moved downward; the author innovatively transforms the theme of the first section into a sequence of trills placed under the right-hand figurations.
Bagatelle. Sans op. 1919
This piece for piano was written in 1919 and dedicated to Marianna Fedorovna Gramenitskaya, with whom the author studied first in Ignati Glyasser’s courses and then in Professor Leonid Nikolayev’s piano class at the conservatory. However, at present there are no data showing that the piece was given to the person it was dedicated to, or even if Gramenitskaya knew about the existence of this work. In the same year 1919, Shostakovich rearranged the musical material of “Bagatelle” and included it in Prelude No. 2 in G major.
There are still no documents testifying to any public performances of “Bagatelle”, so the première of this work should be considered 30 September 2016, when it was played by Sergey Redkin in the Small Hall of the St. Petersburg Conservatory at a concert during the International Conference Dedicated to the 110th Anniversary of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Birthday: New Documents, Research, Interpretations.
A fragment of the work’s holograph was reproduced in the book Shostakovich at the Leningrad Conservatory.
The first publication was issued by St. Petersburg’s Kompozitor Publishers in 2016.
Three Pieces. Sans op. 1919-1920
Minuet, Prelude, Intermezzo
The manuscript of these three pieces was kept in the archive of Aleksandra Rozanova-Nechayeva, Shostakovich’s piano teacher in 1917-1920.
Shostakovich does not mention the pieces in his reminiscences, and only Rozanova’s nephew, Aleksandr Rozanov, has anything to say about them. According to him, Shostakovich rewrote his piano pieces and presented them to Rozanova, while Rozanov himself later gave the manuscript to the State Central Museum of Musical Culture (now Russian National Museum of Music).
He also did the attribution, but this has still not been confirmed by other data. The fact that the pieces were not written in Shostakovich’s hand is worthy of particular mention. Nor is there any information confirming the generally accepted date most likely inferred on the basis of the time the composer studied in Rozanova’s class at the conservatory. It seems quite possible that the pieces date back to an earlier time, since, according to Olga Digonskaya and Galina Kopytova, they feature an element of stylization that is not characteristic of the time the composer studied in the conservatory.
At present, the foreign and Russian music reference guides indicate that Minuet was written during 1919-1920, which corresponds to the time the composer was studying in Rozanova’s class.
The pieces were first published in 1983 in Volume 39 of Collected Works. Furthermore, Minuet was
published as part of Shostakovich’s Selected Piano Works in 1985 in Kiev.
The first performance and recording were done in the 1980s by Viktoria Postnikova.