Dmitri ShostakovichDmitri Shostakovich (St Petersburg, 12/25 September 1906 – Moscow, 9 August 1975), composer and pianist. He is, together with Rachmaninov, Stravinsky and Prokofiev, one of the leading Russian composers of the 20th century. His versatility in genres (he wrote symphonies, sonatas, operas, ballets and other “classical” works, but also film scores and incidental theatre music) is perfectly balanced by his eclectic style, which combines elements from the late Romanticism to contemporary music. The influence of Mahler and Stravinsky, just to mention two of his models, is clearly manifest in his works.

His difficult relationship with the oppressive Soviet government was only occasionally mitigated with honours (he won the Lenin Prize in 1958 for the Symphony No. 11) and praises and, if on the one hand it caused Shostakovich to give contradictory statements about the regime, on the other hand it contributed to develop the immense affecting power of his musical language, characterized by contrasts and sarcasm, to reveal through music what he could not express in words.

As a pianist, Shostakovich often performed his own works, making his last appearance in 1966.

His works include fifteen symphonies, six concerti, fifteen string quartets, two piano sonatas and a quintet and a set of 24 preludes and fugues. He also wrote three operas (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District, The Nose and The Gambler), ballets (The Golden Age, The Great Lightning and The Limpid Stream), and film music, as the eight Waltzes.


Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk Vishnevskaya RostropovichLady Macbeth of Mtsensk

Galina Vishnevskaya, Nicolai Gedda, Dimiter Petkov, Werner Krenn
Ambrosian Opera Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Mstilav Rostopovich, conductor
EMI, 2002
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Shostakovich Symphonies 4 11 NelsonSymphonies Nos. 4 & 11 “The Year 1905”

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelson, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 2018
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Dmitri Shostakovich Cantatas Paavo JarviShostakovich Cantatas

Alexei Tanovitski, bass; Konstantin Andreyev, tenor
Narva Boys Choir, Estonian Concert Choir
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Järvi, conductor
Erato, 2015
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Shostakovich Symphony no. 5 Mstislav RostropovichSymphony no. 5

London Symphony Orchestra
Mstislav Rostropovich, conductor
LSO, 2005
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Dmitri Shostakovich Songs and WaltzesSongs and Waltzes

Sergei Leiferkus
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
Thomas Sanderling
Deutsche Grammophon, 2006
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Petrenko Shostakovich Symphony No. 10Symphony No. 10

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko, conductor
Naxos, 2010

Shostakovich Symphonies Nos.1 & 7 Leningrad BernsteinSymphony No. 1 & Symphony No. 7 “Leningrad”

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 1989
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Shostakovich Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9 BernsteinSymphony No. 5 & Symphony No. 9

New York Philharmonic
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Sony, 2000
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Piano Trios 1 & 2, Viola Sonata

Visontay, Lidström, Meinich
Decca, 2016
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Cello Concertos Nos. 1, 2

Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor
Decca, 2016
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