Shostakovich: Symphony No.10
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Track Listing1. Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10: I. Moderato 26:53
2. Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10: II. Allegro 4:36
3. Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10: III. Allegretto 13:21
4. Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10: IV. Andante - Allegro 13:46
“Yoel Levi is obviously a very fine conductor indeed, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra plays like heroes... These are performances of the very greatest distinction, backed by a recording of beautiful lucidity. I do urge you to hear them.” —Gramaphone
With the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 (coincidentally, on the same day that Prokofiev died), Dmitri Shostakovich was finally free from the despotic dictator’s control. At last he was able to express himself truly through his music, without fear of official Party reprisals.
The Tenth Symphony was composed in less than three months during the summer of 1953, after his pent-up creativity had been unleashed. Shostakovich himself gave few hints as to the meaning of the work, preferring instead to state merely, “let them listen and guess for themselves.” Toward the end of his life, however, he did intimate in his memoirs that he used the second movement to depict Stalin in a sort of “musical portrait.” Like the ruthless ruler himself, it is a fiery, threatening whirlwind from start to finish.
The premiere of the Tenth provoked heated debate in the Soviet Union, ultimately resulting in the official opinion that the new symphony was “an optimistic tragedy.” But the implicit approval finally established once and for all Shostakovich’s right to freedom of artistic expression for which he had striven so long. With Prokovfiev gone, he now assumed his place as the dean of Soviet composers, and the Tenth became universally recognized as his masterpiece.