Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975): Young Dmitri...and Friends

Episodes

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02Vladimir Deshevov20110201

Donald Macleod with a full performance of perhaps Shostakovich's least-played symphony.

Donald Macleod explores Shostakovich's brilliant youth - and the work of five extraordinary lost musical souls - amidst the turmoil and extraordinary originality of 1920s Russia.

Tuesday sees Donald Macleod presenting a complete performance of perhaps Shostakovich's least-played symphony, his Second - complete with tubthumping choral finale in praise of the Revolution. Yet this is no potboiler...but one of the most daringly original works of the early 20th century. The episode opens with a brutal miniature for piano by Shostakovich's forgotten contemporary, Vladimir Deshevov, evoking the clangourous, steely grind of life in industrial Russia.

03Alexander Mosolov20110202

Donald Macleod presents an excerpt from Shostakovich's surreal debut opera, The Nose.

Donald Macleod explores Shostakovich's brilliant youth - and the work of five extraordinary lost musical souls - amidst the turmoil and extraordinary originality of 1920s Russia.

Wednesday's programme features Shostakovich at his zaniest - and perhaps most brilliantly original. After two scurrilous arrangements of Scarlatti, Donald Macleod presents excerpts from Shostakovich's first opera, "The Nose", a surreal tale of nasal amputation and Kafkaesque bureaucracy.

The programme finishes with a masterpiece not by Shostakovich, but by his contemporary Alexander Mosolov - a man who would later be the only major composer to be sent to the gulag. Mosolov's Piano Concerto no.1 is like no other in classical music - a bewildering procession of melodies and influences that mirrors the chaotic artistic melting-pot of 1920s Soviet Russia.

04Alexei Zhivotov20110203

Donald Macleod presents Shostakovich's Third Symphony and Alexei Zhivotov's Fragments.

Donald Macleod explores Shostakovich's brilliant youth - and the work of five extraordinary lost musical souls - amidst the turmoil and extraordinary originality of 1920s Russia.

Donald Macleod begins Thursday's programme with another dazzlingly witty arrangement - this time of a Broadway hit! - before introducing another 'black sheep' of the Shostakovich symphony family: his little-performed Third Symphony, complete with finale in praise of the Soviet revolutionary. His guest composer today is Alexei Zhivotov - a composer who barely registers in musical history - yet whose Fragments, Op.2, is one of the most original Russian chamber works of the 20th century.

05Gavriil Popov20110204

Donald Macleod presents Shostakovich's The Golden Age, plus Gavriil Popov's Symphony No 1.

Donald Macleod explores Shostakovich's brilliant youth - and the work of five extraordinary lost musical souls - amidst the turmoil and extraordinary originality of 1920s Russia.

In the final episode of the week, Donald Macleod looks at how the musical freedoms of the 1920s were slowly and surely crushed by the totalitarian state...a time when Shostakovich, somewhat ironically, composed a new ballet entitled "The Golden Age"...as well as finishing off someone else's opera for them!

Donald's last 'guest composer' of the week is the long-forgotten contemporary of Shostakovich Gavri'il Popov, whose epic, kaleidoscopic First Symphony is perhaps the most original Russian work of the entire decade - and a lasting influence on later modernist composers like Schnittke.