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Ahead of Radio 3's 'Breaking Free: A Century of Russian Culture' season, Tom Service explores Shostakovich's baffling late masterpiece, his Symphony No 15.

Ahead of Radio 3's 'Breaking Free: A Century of Russian Culture' season, Tom Service unlocks the mysteries of Shostakovich's baffling late masterpiece, his Symphony No. 15. Why does Shostakovich create a nightmarish toy shop soundscape in the opening movement? What compelled him to include musical quotations from Rossini and Wagner? And how does that final movement represent perhaps the greatest act of nihilism in musical history? To answer these questions Tom is joined by this week's Listening Service witness, the music historian David Metzer.

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29 minutes

Music Played

  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    String Quartet No. 13 Op. 138

    Performer: Borodin Quartet.
    • Shostakovich - Borodin Quartet.
    • Melodiya.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Symphony No.15 in A major; First Movement

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich.
    • Symphony No. 15.
    • TELDEC.
  • Alfred Schnittke

    Suite in the Old Style - Minuet

    Performer: Olga Martynova. Performer: Andrey Doynikov. Performer: Dmitri Vlassik.
    • Schnittke:Works for Violin and Piano.
    • QUARTZ.
  • The Sugarhill Gang

    Apache

    • 8th Wonder.
    • Sugar Hill Records.
  • Nas

    Hip Hop Is Dead

    • Hip Hop Is Dead.
    • Def Jam Recordings.
  • Incredible Bongo Band

    Apache

    • Bongo Rock.
    • MGM Records.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Symphony no. 7 (Op.60) in C major "Leningrad", 1st movement; Allegretto

    Performer: Leningrad Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Performer: Yuri Temirkanov.
    • RCA.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Symphony No.15 in A major; Last Movement

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich.
    • Symphony No. 15.
    • TELDEC.

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