Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Dmitri Shostakovich - surviving Soviet Russia

Live from the Barbican Hall, Semyon Bychkov conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's searing Symphony No 11. Plus the Piano Concerto No 2 with Alexei Volodin.

Live from the Barbican Hall, Semyon Bychkov conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's searing Symphony No.11. Plus the Piano Concerto No.2 with Alexei Volodin.

Presented by Martin Handley

Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No 2 in F major (1956-7)
Shostakovich: Variations on a Theme by Glinka (1957) (for piano)

07.55 Interval - Russian a cappella music

Bortnyansky Sacred Concerto No.4 – Make a Joyful noise up to God
Russian State Symphonic Cappella
Valeri Polyansky (conductor)

Nikolay Golovanov: Slava Ottsu; Pavel Chesnokov: Heruvimskaya pesn; Viktor Kalinnikov: Svete tihiy
Tenebrae , Nigel Short (conductor)

08.15
Shostakovich: Symphony No 11 in G minor 'The Year 1905' (1956-7)

Alexei Volodin (piano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Semyon Bychkov (conductor)

Conductor Semyon Bychkov presents three Shostakovich works all completed in the unsettling year of 1957. The Piano Concerto No.2 , a gift to the composer's pianist son, Maxim, is tonight in the hands of Alexei Volodin, one of the standout Russian pianists of our time. It begins playfully before a tender, romantic, cinematic, slow movement. After the concerto come the variations for piano solo Shostakovich wrote in 1957 to mark the centenary of the death of the Russian composer Glinka.

In the Eleventh Symphony, subtitled 'The Year 1905', Shostakovich turns to the uprising in St Petersburg, witnessed by his own father, in which protesters were brutally gunned down outside the Winter Palace by Tsarists forces. It's a sombre, intensely dramatic work - "a symphony written in blood" - in which songs of the failed Revolution are remembered. Political unrest of a different stripe affected Shostakovich in 1956-7 at the time he wrote the symphony, with the Hungarian Uprising abruptly halted by Russian Communist forces. Russian poet Anna Akhmatovar was moved to write of the piece: 'Those songs were like white birds flying against a terrible black sky.’

2 hours, 28 minutes

Music Played

  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Piano Concerto No.2

    Performer: Alexei Volodin. Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Variations on a Theme by Glinka

    Performer: Alexei Volodin.
  • Dmitry Bortniansky

    Sacred Concerto No.4 - Make a Joyful noise up to God

    Choir: Russian State Symphonic Cappella. Conductor: Valery Kuzmich Polyansky.
    • CHANDOS.
  • Nikolai Golovanov

    Slava Ottsu

    Choir: Tenebrae. Conductor: Nigel Short.
  • Pavel Grigorievich Chesnokov

    Heruvimskaya pesn

    Choir: Tenebrae. Conductor: Nigel Short.
  • Viktor Sergeevich Kalinnikov

    Svete tihiy

    Choir: Tenebrae. Conductor: Nigel Short.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Symphony No.11 'The Year' 1905'

    Performer: Semyon Bychkov. Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra.
  • Chelsea Becker

    The Leaves Like Women Interchange

    Choir: BBC Singers. Conductor: Grace Rossiter.
  • Edvard Grieg

    Piano Sonata in E minor op 7

    Performer: Boris Giltburg.
    • Orchid Classics.

Broadcast

Featured in...

The women erased from musical history

The women erased from musical history

Discover the music of five forgotten women composers, performed in a special IWD concert.

Three Great British Brass Band Pieces

Three Great British Brass Band Pieces

Music by Malcolm Arnold, Edward Elgar and Herbert Howells.