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David Dalle
Thursday November 23rd, 2017 with David Dalle
A Tale of Two Revolutions: Shostakovich and his Symphony no. 11 'The Year 1905'

1957 saw the composition of Shostakovich's 11th symphony, subtitled 'The Year 1905'. On the surface, this was a programmatic work to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1905 Russian Revolution, with four movements depicting dramatic scenes from the revolution, particularly Bloody Sunday, the shooting of hundreds of peaceful protesters in January 1905 which really set the wider revolution of 1905 in motion. The symphony was an enormous success in the Soviet Union, winning a Lenin prize, and marking the official rehabilitation of Shostakovich since his 2nd denunciation in 1948. Though the work is obstensibly about the 1905 Revolution, there is some difference of opinion on Shostakovich's true intentions. Some believe it was actually a protest against the Soviet tyranny in crushing the Hungarian revolution of 1956. Though, since the 1905 Revolution was not instigated by the Bolsheviks and was never claimed by them, it retained its Romantic aura of courageous resistance to tyranny in the popular conciousness. So it could easily be intended as both a tribute to the failed but courageous revolutions of 1905 in Russia and 1956 in Hungary. It also remains an extremely dramatic and stirring work. Notes on the four movements by Mark Wigglesworth: "Played without a pause, the symphony’s four movements are all given titles by the composer. Palace Square serves as a slow introduction: its cold and desolate vastness depict the snow-covered square at daybreak; ominous timpani strokes fatefully suggest an uneasy calm, whilst distant brass fanfares evoke the soldiers’ early morning ‘reveille’. As the sun rises, the melodies of two revolutionary songs emerge. Listen! and The Prisoner were both well-known to prisoners trying to come to terms with the slow pace of time whilst in captivity, with only the crying of fellow inmates to keep them company during the long dark nights. Entitled The Ninth of January, the following Allegro cinematically depicts the crowd, at first calm, then gradually giving way to more impassioned pleas for help. But these receive no answer, and we sense the people’s dejected frustration: a silent stillness that is suddenly interrupted by the sound of rifling drum shots, as seemingly unprovoked and unexpected as, by all accounts, the real gunfire was in 1905. The confusion and panic in the music is unmistakable, as is the hollow and ghostly emptiness of the terrifying quiet of the now lifeless, body-strewn square with which the movement ends. The third movement, an Adagio headed In Memoriam, laments those who lost their lives in the atrocity. Sometimes resigned and sad, in other places angry and defiant, it is based on the revolutionary funeral march You fell as victims, with unselfish love for the people, a song that was heard at Lenin’s funeral in 1924. The finale, Tocsin (an alarm or warning bell), is a gesture of defiance on the part of the survivors and on behalf of those who gave their lives in resistance. In anticipation of future uprisings, it uses the songs Tremble, Tyrants and Whirlwinds of Danger to predict an ultimate victory for the revolutionaries." We hear the great Finnish conductor Paavo Berglund in a recording with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Symphony No. 11 'The Year 1905' in g minor Op. 103
Dmitri Shostakovich/Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Berglund - Symphonies no. 7 & 11 - EMI
Mostly Finnish and Hungarian music to close out the show, with a bit of a Tuvan throat-singing detour.
Uskottu ei Uupuvani
Varttina with Albert Kuvezin and Aldyn-ool Sevek - Vihma - Wicklow
Mieleni Alenevi
Varttina with Albert Kuvezin and Aldyn-ool Sevek - Vihma - Wicklow
Kadarchynyng Yry
Shu-De - Voices From the Distant Steppe - Realworld
Far away to Home
Wang Li & Wu Wei - Overtones - Harmonia Mundi
Szerelem, Szerelem
Marta Sebestyen - Apocrypha - Rykodisc
Csoro Drom
Romengo - Kethane - Gryllus
Vilges Balvvat
Wimme Saari - Instinct - Northside
Tapna Kervan Prtav
Arsen Petrosyan - Charentsavan: Music for Armenian Duduk - Pomegranate Music
Zsav Me Tute
Romengo - Kethane - Gryllus
Interactive CKCU
Gabriel MM
I'm at work so will listen on demand later, I've been looking forward to the 11th! Thank you so much for playing them.

2:53 PM, November 23rd, 2017
David Dalle (host)
You're welcome! Thanks for listening live or on-demand!

3:13 PM, November 23rd, 2017