Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

  1. Radio Message

Broadcast, 1941, 0'49"
Voice – Dmitri Shostakovich
Recording – September 20, 1941

Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich (b. St. Petersburg 1906 - d. Moscow 1975) was one of the leading Soviet composers. In his early period he was linked to the language of the Russian avant-garde, collaborating with artists from other disciplines like Mayakovsky, Meyerhold and Rodchenko. His music was twice officially denounced - in 1936 and again in 1948 - for being "noise instead of music". After this he began combining a strongly expressed romantic language with the influence of Mahler, contrasting these with elements of atonality and the grotesque. This recording is a radiophonic message broadcast by Shostakovich during the Nazi siege of St. Petersburg, in which he announces the composition of two parts of what would become his Symphony No.7 in C major, opus 60 (subtitled the Leningrad). He also takes the opportunity to call upon Soviet musicians to defend their art and their city. Shostakovich remained in Leningrad during the siege, defending the city as a fire warden and with propaganda broadcasts until he and his family were evacuated to Kuybishev (now Samara) in October 1941, where the symphony was completed. The Leningrad was adopted as the symbol of Russian resistance in both the USSR and in the west, and was finally performed during the siege in 1942.

Radio message broadcast of Dmitri Shostakovich

[English translation]:

An hour ago, I finished the score of two parts of a large symphonic composition. If I succeed in writing this composition well, if I succeed in completing the third and fourth parts, then it will be possible to call this composition the seventh symphony.

Why do I announce this? So that the radio listeners who are listening to me now will know that the life of our city goes on as normal.

We are all now doing our military duty. Soviet musicians, my dear friends and numerous brothers-in-arms, my friends! Remember that our art is now in great danger. Let us defend our music, let us work honestly and selflessly!

  1. Radio Broadcast Of The Leningrad Symphony

Excerpt, 1942, 1'20"

Re-creation of the Seventh Symphony by Shostakovich over the radio (August 9, 1942), during the bombing of Leningrad in World War II. Original sound of the artillery in the blockaded city of Leningrad (soundtrack "The Battle of Russia", 1943)

Excerpt of the Seventh Symphony interpreted by Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Conductor – Dmitry Yablonsky, recorded in February 2003, Original label – Naxos, 2004

Re-creation – Miguel Molina Alarcon

Production Date – 2007

On August 9, 1942, Dmitri Shostakovich's famous Symphony No.7, known as the Leningrad, was performed in the city of Leningrad in the middle of the Nazi siege. Musicians were collected from various locations along the front and Karl Eliasberg, then ill with dystrophy, conducted the Radio Leningrad Orchestra in the Great Hall of the Philharmonic Society. In order to ensure that the concert would not be interrupted, all points of enemy fire were neutralized and all Soviet canons remained silent for the duration of the performance, although more than one Composer Dimitri Shostakovich working as a bomb and fascist projectile was still heard. The concert became "a symbol of the strength of spirit and resolve fireman during the siege of Leningrad in 1941 of the city's defenders". This recording is a sound recreation of the simultaneous radio broadcast of the concert in the midst of the siege (the sound of the siege is taken from a documentary soundtrack).

Russian Futurists from the GLM Collection (1920-1959)
Sound Experiments in The Russian Avant-Garde (1908-1942)