Shostakovich - Symphony No. 1 (hr-Sinfonieorch. cond. Järvi)

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Schostakowitsch: 1. Sinfonie - hr-Sinfonieorchester - Paavo Järvi

I. Allegretto – Allegro non troppo 
II. Allegro 
III. Lento 
IV. Allegro molto – Lento – Allegro molto – Presto 

hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) 
Paavo Järvi, Dirigent 

Alte Oper Frankfurt, 6. März 2015 

Website: ;


The Symphony No. 1 in F minor (Opus 10) by Dmitri Shostakovich was written in 1924–1925, and first performed in Leningrad by the Leningrad Philharmonic under Nikolai Malko on 12 May 1926. Shostakovich wrote the work as his graduation piece at the Petrograd Conservatory, completing it at the age of 19.

While Shostakovich wrote this piece as his graduation exercise from Maximilian Steinberg's composition class, some of the material may have dated from considerably earlier. When the composer's aunt, Nadezhda Galli-Shohat, first heard the work at its American premiere by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, she recognised in it many fragments she had heard young Mitya play as a child. Some of these fragments were associated with La Fontaine's retelling of Aesop's fable of the ant and the grasshopper and Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.

The immediate parallel to the 19-year-old composer presenting his first symphony was Alexander Glazunov, himself a child prodigy who had his First Symphony performed at an even younger age. Glazunov may have recognised in Shostakovich an echo of his younger self. As director of the Petrograd Conservatory, Glazunov had followed Shostakovich's progress since his entrance at age 13. He also arranged for the premiere of Shostakovich's symphony, which took place 44 years after Glazunov's First Symphony had first been presented in the same hall. In another instance of déjà vu with Glazunov's early life, the symphony caused almost as much of a sensation as the appearance of the young Shostakovich on the stage awkwardly taking his bow.

This symphony was a tremendous success from its premiere, and is still considered today as one of Shostakovich's finest works.[citation needed] It displays an interesting and characteristic combination of liveliness and wit on the one hand, and drama and tragedy on the other. In some ways it is reminiscent of the works of Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev. The transparent and chamber-like orchestration of the First Symphony is in quite a contrast to the complex and sophisticated Mahlerian orchestrations found in many of his later symphonies, and the assurance with which the composer imagines, then realises large-scale structure, is as impressive as his vigour and freshness of gesture.
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