Happy Birthday Shostakovich!

Today marks the 111th anniversary of the birth of the great, twentieth century, Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (25 September 19069 August 1975).

To celebrate the occasion we have been listening to his Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10 in a fine performance by Vladimir Jurowski conducting the Russian National Orchestra on the Pentatone label.

This might not be Shostakovich’s finest or best known symphony but it must surely rank among the most precociously brilliant symphonic debuts in the history of classical music. The entire symphony being completed in full score before Shostakovich reached the age of 20! This symphony became something of a favourite with Shostakovich and he alludes to it in his autobiographical String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 and in his final symphony.

Jurowski proves to be an impressive conductor in these works and he totally gets across both the drama and lyricism in this music. The recording adds to the listening pleasure with its fine balance allowing the solo piano, unexpectedly introduced in the second movement, to integrate well.

Alternatively purchase it as an SACD from Presto Classical.