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Symphony V, Movement Two (Shostakovich)

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Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich (arr. Roger Smith)


General Info

Year: 1945
Duration: c. 4:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
D-flat 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
Cornets I-II-III
E-flat Horn I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Piano (optional)
Timpani
Percussion

(Percussion instrumentation undifferentiated in score)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Dmitri Shostakovich struggled famously under the yoke of Josef Stalin and the Soviet cultural apparatus. His symphonies, still immensely popular in today’s concert halls, display his ability to communicate in his own voice while managing the expectations of the regime.

Shostakovich employed a traditional four-movement format with his Fifth Symphony, perhaps seeking to avoid the harsh criticism and threats received by his more modernist works. Premièred in 1937 by the Leningrad Philharmonic, the symphony was an immediate success, its struggle and tragedy connecting with audiences across Russia during an era of Stalinist purging. After three movements of darkness, the finale opens with a militaristic flourish and bone-chilling percussion. Yet, the symphony does not conclude without hope; as Shostakovich revealed later in life: “I wanted to convey in the symphony how, through a series of tragic conflicts of great inner spiritual turmoil, optimism asserts itself as a world view.”

- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 7 July 2016


Completed in 1937, this symphony is commonly subtitled A Soviet artist’s reply to just criticism after Stalin’s denouncement of Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mtensk for its degenerate and modernist tendencies. Any kind of adventurous music was banned. Shostakovich became a marked man and his Mahleresque Fourth Symphony was withdrawn not long after its premiere.

The Fifth Symphony follows the outline of a traditional symphony, providing safe music, following old formulas. It was a rousing success. Shostakovich reportedly said, “The idea behind my symphony is the making of a man. I saw him, with all his experience, at the centre of the work, which is lyrical from beginning to end. The Finale brings an optimistic solution to the tragic parts of the first movement.”

In his memoirs, smuggled from Russia after his death, he wrote: "What exultation could there be? I think it is clear to everyone what happens in the Fifth. The rejoicing is forced, created under threat...It’s as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, ‘Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing,’ and you rise, shaky, and go marching off, muttering, ‘Our business is rejoicing, our business is rejoicing.’ What kind of apotheosis is that? You have to be a complete oaf not to hear that."

- Program Note by William V. Johnson for the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra concert program, 15 May 2010


The second movement, officially designated Allegretto but often called Scherzo, opens with a waltz-like scherzo motif as a variation of the first theme in the first movement; other variations can be detected throughout the movement. The music remains witty, satirical, raucous while also nervous.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

  • Arkansas: IV
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: V
  • Tennessee: V


Performances

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Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources