Born: 1906, St. Petersburg, RussiaDied: 1975, Moscow, Russia
Shostakovich completed his Symphony No. 1 during the summer of 1925 and died exactly 50 years and 14 symphonies later. He had one of the most difficult careers ever endured by an artist, a life tormented by suffocating political repression, foreign invasion, and personal tragedy. The essence of Shostakovich’s mature musical language – a sardonic wit, a Mahler-like fusion of the tragic and the commonplace, and an assured handling of the orchestra – were present in his music from the beginning.
Further listening:Concerto for Piano and Trumpet (1933)Yefim Bronfman, Thomas Stevens, Los AngelesPhilharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen (Sony Classical)
String Quartets Nos. 1-15 (1938-1974)Fitzwilliam Quartet (Decca)