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David Dalle
Thursday April 12th, 2018 with David Dalle
The dissident finally revealed: Shostakovich and his 13th symphony. His searing indictment of Soviet life, particularly the Antisemitism which continued to plague the Soviet Union. Music from Krakow and Berlin's lost Jewish pre-Shoah community.

'And I myself am one long soundless cry.' Today on Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day, we approach the end of my Shostakovich cycle with his 13th symphony. Composed in 1962 setting 5 poems by the then young poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko (who only died in April 2017), all 5 were intensely critical of Soviet life and society, either sarcastically ('Humour', 'Career'), or earnestly ('In the Store', 'Fears') and most famously, his searing poem 'Babi Yar'. Babi Yar being the infamous ravine in Kiev where virtually all the Jewish residents of Kiev were shot and murdered in September 1941. Nearly 34,000 people, men and women, infants and elderly were murdered over the course of 2 days. Though the Holocaust was the ultimate Nazi crime, the poem intended to expose and criticize the Antisemitism that was still pervasive in the Soviet Union after WWII. Officially, the Soviet Union tried to erase the Jewishness of the Holocaust, its victims became generic Soviet citizens, not specifically targeted for being Jews. This was particularly galling as the Holocaust began in Nazi occupied USSR. Antisemitism also remained rife in Soviet society, and some scholars believe it was only Stalin's death which prevented another Holocaust in the Soviet Union. Yevtushenko's poem made references to Jewish suffering from ancient times through to the Antisemitism in Europe from the Dreyfus affair, to pogroms in Imperial Russia, to the Holocaust symbolized by the thousands buried in Babi Yar And I myself am one long soundless cry. Above the thousand thousands buried here. I am every old man here shot dead. I am every child here shot dead.  Nothing in me will ever forget this. Shostakovich was astounded after reading 'Babi Yar', not because he was unaware of the atrocity, most knew about the Antisemitic nature of the Holocaust, but it was blanketed by silence. The poem broke the silence. Shostakovich originally began composing a single movement vocal-symphonic piece just for 'Babi Yar', but later found 4 more poems from Yevtushenko criticizing different aspects of Soviet society to expand the work, but it is the opening movement set to 'Babi Yar' which defined the work and garnered the most official criticism. The work was premiered in 1962 towards the end of the Khrushchev thaw, but despite the modestly more liberal atmosphere, the work came under heavy official criticism, several soloists were pressured to withdraw from the premiere, and the work was initially supposed to be conducted by Shostakovich's longtime friend and collaborater Yevgeny Mravinsky withdrew leading to an irreconcilable break between the two. Eventually Kyril Kondrashin conducted the first two performances. But it would not receive any more until a censored version of the poems was released, which changed all the most pertinent lines identifying Jews. It received a couple more performances with the censored version, but was not widely heard in the Soviet Union. Shostakovich refused to change the texts in his manuscript version, which retains the original, and which is the standard version to be performed and recorded since. Translations of the 5 poems can be found here: We will hear a recording with the Shostakovich champion Mstislav Rostropovich conducting the National Symphony Orchestra.
Symphony No. 13 'Babi Yar' Op. 113
Dmitri Shostakovich/Nicola Ghiuselev, Men of the Choral Arts Society of Washington, National Symphony Orchestra, Mstislav Rostropovich - Symphony No. 13 - Erato
We continue with some fantastic Klezmer and Yiddish songs from pre-Holocaust Poland and Berlin.
Moshe Leiser, Ami Flammer, Gerard Barreaux - Chansons Yiddish - Tendresses et Rage - Ocora
Moshe Leiser, Ami Flammer, Gerard Barreaux - Chansons Yiddish - Tendresses et Rage - Ocora
Impromptus D899 no. 1 in c minor
Franz Schubert/Krystian Zimerman - Impromptus - Deutsche Grammophon
Achenu Kol Bes Isroel
Semer Ensemble - Rescued Treasure - Piranha
Bulgars #2
The Klezmatics - Rise Up! - Piranha
The Migration of Souls
The Cracow Klezmer Band - Remembrance - Tzadik
Scholem Baith
Semer Ensemble - Rescued Treasure - Piranha
Semer Ensemble - Rescued Treasure - Piranha
Interactive CKCU
I have never heard this Shostakovich piece before. My bad, clearly. Extremely moving!! (My Mom would have LOVED it, I am quite sure.) Did not catch the whole thing -- distractions. Thank you OnDemand.

3:04 PM, April 12th, 2018
Just WOW! Yet again. Really stirring and obviously heartfelt program today. THANKS..

3:53 PM, April 12th, 2018