Babi Yar in Rotterdam
Shostakovich's Symphony No 13 in B flat minor, 'Babi Yar', a picture of life in the Soviet Union. With Fiona Talkington.
Shostakovich's 13th Symphony, a picture of life in the Soviet Union. With Fiona Talkington.
From Anne Frank to Robert Burns, Shostakovich manages to create in his 13th Symphony a snapshot of Soviet life and interests in the early 1960s. There's the horror of Nazi anti-Semitic atrocities such as the 'Babi Yar' massacre which gives the symphony its epithet, and is the title of a poem by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. In it, the poet shows a deep interest in Robert Burns, who many soviet composers go back to again and again for inspiration. And then he puts that in the context of the everyday living conditions inside the Soviet Union, like the empty shelves and endless shop queues, and the constant fear of the secret police.
For Shostakovich, all these things and more come together in the poetry of Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who returned the compliment, saying about Shostakovich's symphony: 'his music made the poem greater'.
Symphony No 13 in B flat minor, Op 113 'Babi Yar'
Mikhail Petrenko (bass)
Men's Choir of Bavarian Radio