Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 arr. for 2 pianos, Maki Namekawa & Dennis Russell Davies, pianos

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There are many examples of major symphonies having complicated premieres but none are more intriguing than the purgatory to which Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony was sentenced back in 1936.

To say his work, which was composed in 1936 when the composer was 30 years old, met with official disapproval would be an understatement. Due to the condemnation of Pravda and Josef Stalin, Symphony No. 4 had to wait until 1961 for its premiere. Its lack of "Socialist Realism" condemned it to a musical gulag, but in withdrawing the symphony, Shostakovich probably managed to elude the firing squad.

The orchestra score was lost in WWII but the work survived in Shostakovich's duo piano arrangement which was not heard publicly until 1960. The full orchestral version was reconstructed from the piano version and the orchestral rehearsal parts.

Even without the orchestra, the symphony is both grand and terrifying, perhaps even more so due to the transparency, angularity, and immediacy that the pianos can provide.

 I. Allegretto poco moderato- Presto  30:06

II. Moderato con moto 9:54

III. Largo- Allegro 31:55




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