Scores to the symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich, notes
Volume Six of Dmitry Shostakovich's Collected Works comprises the scores of his symphonies Nos. 11 and 12.
Symphony No. 11, "The Year 1905", in G
minor, Op. 103, was completed on August 4, 1957. Its four movements
bear programmatic headings: 1. Palace Square, 2. January 9th, 3. In Memoriam,
The composer wrote in a brief notice which appeared in the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper on April 20, 1957: "I am working on my Eleventh Symphony and hope to have it ready by the 40th anniversary of the Great October".
And this is what he said about the symphony's idea and his work on it in his article "Thinking about the Road Traversed": "The theme of this symphony is the 1905 Revolution. I am very much attracted to this period in the. history of our native country, a period which is so vividly reflected in workers' revolutionary songs. I do not know if I shall quote the melodies of these songs to any extent in the symphony, but it seems that the character of its musical language will be closely related to Russian revolutionary songs".
In the symphony's score are incorporated the melodies or characteristic motives of the workers' revolutionary songs "Listen!", "The Convict", "You've Fallen Victim", "Comrades, the Bugles Are Sounding", "Hail, Freedom's Word", "Rage, О Tyrantsl", "The Varsovienne", two themes ("O tsar, our father" and "Bare your heads)") from the chorus "January the 9th" from Shostakovich's Ten Poems to Words by Revolutionary Poets o1 the Late Nineteenth-Early Twentieth Centuries, Op. 88, and a melody from Georgy Sviridov's operetta Bright Lights.
Some time upon completion of the symphony Shostakovich expressed his views about the use of songs as thematic material for musical works in extended form. He wrote: "How many beautiful songs there are (often undeservedly neglected), created by anonymous poets and musicians) It is quite natural that composers should now and again introduce the melodies of such songs into their works. But we do not always experience them as our own creations, we do not always succeed in making them part of our artistic personality. And so the songs become mere quotations, no more than inserts that cannot lend to the work the atmosphere of the period in question. CJearly the composer who has mastered the secrets of his craft can elaborate and deck out in orchestral colours the melody of any song. But it will be an indispensable element of his opera or symphony only if the composer has deeply experienced and thought out the thematic material of his work in its entirety. In listening to this music no one will then be able to say that the song is a mere quotation.
Shostakovich presented the piano version of his new symphony
to Leningrad's musicians on September 17, 1957. On September 25 the symphony
was played on the piano at the Composers' Club in Moscow.
Symphony No. 11 was first performed by the State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR at the Large Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire on October 30, 1957. Its Leningrad premiere was given by the Merited Ensemble of the RSFSR, the Academic Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra at the Large Philharmonic Hall on November 3, 1957.
For his Symphony No. 11 Dmitry Shostakovich received the Lenin Prize in 1958.
The autograph score is preserved at the Central State Archives of Literature and Art of the USSR (fond 2048, descriptive list 2, bit of storage No. 1).
The score of the symphony was brought out almost simultaneously by the Soviet Composer and the Muzgiz in 1958.
The present edition is based on a copy of the Soviet Composer score that has been looked through by Shostakovich. The text has been collated with the autograph score and all errors and misprints corrected without comment. The essential variants are discussed in the notes at the end of the volume.
Symphony No. 12, "The Year 1917", D minor,
Op. 112, was written in 1960-61. Its four movements bear programmatic
headings: 1. Revolutionary Petrograd, 2. Razliv, 3. Aurora, 4. The Dawn
of Humanity. The symphony is dedicated to the memory of Vladimir llyich
The idea of this symphony had been taking shape and undergoing changes in the composer's mind for decades. "It has been by long-cherished dream to write a symphony dedicated to the memory of Vladimir llyich Lenin. The idea came to me back in 1924, in the days of the nation-wide profound mourning", wrote Shostakovich in 1940. By that time the composer came to envisage his future work as a vocal-symphonic cycle in four movements. "The first movement deals with Vladimir llyich's youth, the second, with Lenin at the head of the October assault, the third, with the death of Vladimir llyich and the fourth, life without Lenin, along Lenin's road. I already have a number of musical fragments which will be part of this work, the mo'st important of all I've been doing lately".
The composer originally intended to use for the poetic text
of this work excerpts from Mayakovsky's poem Vladimir llyich Lenin, poems
by Jambul and by Suleiman Stalsky, and words from folk songs about Lenin
(he intended also to use the melodies of these songs in his symphony).
In his article "Notes of a Composer" Shostakovich wrote: "I clearly realise that embodying by means of art the immense image of the Leader is a task of tremendous magnitude. So when I speak of the subject-matter of my symphony I mean, not the historical events, not the biographical facts associated with Vladimir llyich; what I mean is the general idea of the work. I have been thinking long and persistently how I can explore this theme by means of music."
At the end of 1940 Shostakovich spoke of intending to complete work on the symphony the next year, but the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War upset his plans. The composer did not resume the interrupted work until two decades later. This is what he said in 1959: "The work of portraying by musical means the image of that giant, the greatest man of our complicated epoch, will demand the exertion of every creative faculty. How I wish I could complete it for Vladimir llyich's ninetieth birthday!"6
The intervening years had wrought appreciable changes in the symphony's idea, and in his broadcast speech on October 29, 1960, Shostakovich said: "At present I am working on my Twelfth Symphony. In 1957 I wrote my Eleventh Symphony dealing with the First Russian Revolution. While completing work on that symphony I began thinking about its continuation and in this way the idea emerged of the Twelfth Symphony which will be dedicated to the Great October Socialist Revolution. Two out of its four movements are almost ready and I think I shall finish the whole work in two or three months.
"Since the idea may be said to have taken final shape I shall proceed to tell you about my Twelfth Symphony, its content, the ideas which were uppermost in my mind while I was working on it and which will remain with me until I have finished it.
"Clearly I set myself an exacting task in attempting
to write a symphony dealing with the Great October Socialist Revolution.
I shall exert every effort, I shall do my very best to have this work—as
far as is humanly possible — correspond with the scope and magnitude of
this theme. And it is natural that when one works on a piece of music
about the October Revolution the first image that rises before one's mind's
eyes is that of the great leader of the working people, of Vladimir llyich
"It is not easy to speak of one's own works, but the theme of my new symphony has captured my imagination and I think that it must prove an important landmark in my creative biography. I attach a very great importance to it.
"What circumstances help me to cope with my difficult task? I have witnessed the events of the October Revolution, I was one of those who listened to Vladimir llyich speaking on the square in front of the Finland Railway Station on the day of his arrival. And although I was very young then, it has made an an indelible impression on my memory. My memories of those unforgettable days, naturally, help me in my work on the symphony".
Shostakovich completed the score of this symphony on August 22, 1961.
Symphony No. 12 was first performed by the Merited Ensemble of the RSFSR, the Academic Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Large Philharmonic Hall on October 1, 1961. Its Moscow premiere took place at the Large Hall of the Conservatoire on October 15, 1961; the symphony was performed by the State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR.
The score was published by the Soviet Composer in 1961.
The autograph score is preserved at the Shostakovich family archives.
The present edition is based on a Soviet Composer score that has been looked through by the composer. The text has been collated with the autograph score. All patent errors and misprints have been corrected without comment. The essential variants are discussed in the notes at the end of the volume.