Allegro from "Symphony X" (Shostakovich)

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Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich (arr. Fisher)

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This work bears the designation Opus 93.

General Info

Year: 1954 / 2010
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Rental


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Symphony No. 10 in E minor (Op. 93) by Dmitri Shostakovich was premiered by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky on 17 December 1953, following the death of Joseph Stalin in March of that year. It is not clear when it was written: according to the composer's letters composition was between July and October 1953, but Tatiana Nikolayeva stated that it was completed in 1951. Sketches for some of the material date from 1946.

The second movement is a short and violent scherzo with syncopated rhythms and endlessly furious semiquaver (sixteenth note) passages. The book Testimony states:

I did depict Stalin in my next symphony, the Tenth. I wrote it right after Stalin's death and no one has yet guessed what the symphony is about. It's about Stalin and the Stalin years. The second part, the scherzo, is a musical portrait of Stalin, roughly speaking. Of course, there are many other things in it, but that's the basis.

However, Shostakovich biographer Laurel Fay wrote, "I have found no corroboration that such a specific program was either intended or perceived at the time of composition and first performance." Musicologist Richard Taruskin called the proposition a "dubious revelation, which no one had previously suspected either in Russia or in the West". Elizabeth Wilson adds: "The Tenth Symphony is often read as the composer’s commentary on the recent Stalinist era. But as so often in Shostakovich’s art, the exposition of external events is counter-opposed to the private world of his innermost feelings."

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Shostakovich’s symphonic structures often confound traditional analysis. Therefore traditional analysts often, mistakenly, dismiss his symphonies as “impostors." The reason is simple: his structures are not purely musical, but driven by dramatic designs. In works where the musical aspect predominates, folk will declare Shostakovich to be a fine, if perhaps somewhat, wayward composer. The Tenth Symphony is a case in point.

Following World War II, Joseph Stalin screwed his totalitarian vice even tighter. Shostakovich, for his “crime” of writing a Ninth Symphony that gave joy to the people, was censured. During the immediate post-war years, Zhdanov was busy ”purging” the various Russian artistic communities. In 1948, the storm clouds broke over the Composers’ Union. Along with Prokofiev, Khachaturian and Myaskovsky, Shostakovich was pilloried. True to form, Shostakovich’s resolve quietly hardened. Secreted in his bottom drawer, amongst other works, the Tenth Symphony was slowly taking shape.

It has been said that the second movement of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 is a “portrait of Stalin” -- frenetic, free-flowing, short but extremely savage. Shostakovich knew that the denizens of the Kremlin would swallow the idea that the music portrayed the late Great Leader’s boundless energy and dynamism. Everybody else, of course, would have understood that Stalin, through his own incessant machinations, spread a deep fear that stifled any ”unauthorized activity” in all others.

This edition of Movement II, ”Allegro,” from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 has been expertly arranged by Dennis Fisher, Associate Director of Wind Studies, University of North Texas.

- Program Note by Paul Serotsky and Todd Nichols

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Waltz No. 2 (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Brown) (post 1956/2021)

All Wind Works