Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4

Denounced by Soviet officials, Shostakovich created this bold work

 

While Shostakovich was writing his Fourth Symphony in 1936, Soviet state newspaper ‘Pravda’ published a series of articles bashing the composer’s recent works. Supposedly under the direct orders of Joseph Stalin, the newspaper took him to task for his not adhering to official Socialist Realist style. Though Shostakovich planned to premiere the work anyway, he relented and it was not performed until 1961.

 

“Barshai’s performance possesses real urgency and weight of sonority… sense of concentration… satisfying formal coherence… Barshai’s credentials with the composer could hardly be better demonstrated.” – Gramophone