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Dmitri Shostakovich


Shostakovich was a perfectionist not just in music but also in his personal life: he was “obsessed with cleanliness,” according to his daughter; he synced the clocks in his flat, or he would frequently mail cards to himself to evaluate how well the postal service worked.1)

Soccer Lover

Shostakovich enjoyed soccer and was a licensed referee. He also enjoyed card games. Zenit Leningrad was his favorite team.2)

Lady Macbeth

Shostakovich was only 26 years old when he finished Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District. The opera launched to critical and popular acclaim, with a racy storyline matched to avant-garde music. Three other performances were running in Moscow two years later. 3)


Stalin then attended a concert. The next morning, the state daily Pravda denounced the art, claiming that it harmed the Soviet spirit. The opera vanished suddenly, and every newspaper and political group in the country launched personal assaults on its composer. Shostakovich lived in terror, sleeping in the stairway outside his apartment to protect his family from the prospect of his arrest.4)

Eighth String Quartet, Op. 110

His Eighth String Quartet, Op. 110, was written in three days from start to finish.5)

Film Composer

Shostakovich is equally well-known as a cinema composer. Shostakovich composed music for 36 films in all. However, most of Shostakovich's cinema music has been lost or is only available in pieces.6)

Benjamin Britten

Shostakovich befriended Benjamin Britten in the 1960s, and the two admired each other's music.7)

Waltz No. 2

Waltz No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich is one of the most well-known works of classical music in the world. The music to Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut popularized the Waltz.8)

Andre Rieu

The Waltz was popularized by Dutch violinist Andre Rieu (dubbed the “Waltz King”), who has created an enormous global reputation with his Johann Strauss Orchestra over the last 20 years.9)


Tony Palmer's award-winning film The Story of Shostakovich, starring Ben Kingsley, is based on Shostakovich's memoirs and his life and career during Stalin's horrific tyranny.10)

Seventh Symphony Part 1

During World War II, the composer began work on his Seventh Symphony in September 1941. He wrote three portions of the piece in Leningrad and concluded it in Kuibyshev (now Samara) in December. The Seventh Symphony was played at the Leningrad Philharmonic in August 1942.11)

Seventh Symphony Part 2

Despite the hardships of city life, the famished musicians summoned the courage to rehearse and then perform in front of an audience. The arena was completely full. And, despite the fact that the city was constantly attacked, the lights in the skyscraper remained on. The symphony was heard by the whole city of Leningrad, as well as the entire world: the score was distributed on microfilm to Britain and the United States.12)

Other Compositions

Shostakovich wrote the operetta Moscow, Cheryomushki, cinema music, symphonic poems, and song cycles based on poetry by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Alexander Blok, Michelangelo, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Federico Garcia Lorca.13)

The Motherland Hears – The Motherland Knows

To Shostakovich's music, a snippet of the song “The Motherland Hears – The Motherland Knows” became a distinctive melody for All-Union Radio: Call signals from the first man-made satellite were woven into the song. Yuri Gagarin hummed this tune during the landing.14)

dmitri_shostakovich.txt · Last modified: 2022/03/04 00:05 by eziothekilla34