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Shostakovich Symphony No. 15, op. 141
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich, 25 September 1906 – 9 August 1975 was a Russian composer of the Soviet period.
After a period influenced by Prokofiev and Stravinsky (e.g. in his Symphony No. 1 of 1927), Shostakovich developed a hybrid of styles as exemplified in his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934). Within a single work this frequently juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, such as the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and a form of post-romantic style (after Mahler). Shostakovich's unique approach to tonality involved the use of modal scales and some astringent neo-classical harmonies à la Hindemith and Prokofiev. His music frequently includes sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque.
Shostakovich prided himself on his orchestration, which is clear, economical and well-projected; this aspect of his technique owes more to Gustav Mahler than Rimsky-Korsakov. Shostakovich's most popular works are his 15 symphonies and 15 string quartets. His works for piano include two piano sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include two operas, six concertos and a substantial quantity of film music.
Shostakovich rose to fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Leon Trotsky's chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with Joseph Stalin, suffering two official denunciations of his music, in 1936 and 1948, and the periodic banning of his work. At the same time, he received a number of accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet. Despite the official controversy, his works were popular and well received.
William Walton, his British contemporary, described him as "the greatest composer of the 20th century. David Fanning concludes in Grove that, Amid the conflicting pressures of official requirements, the mass suffering of his fellow countrymen, and his personal ideals of humanitarian and public service, he succeeded in forging a musical language of colossal emotional power.
Shostakovich's opera Orango (1932) was found by a Russian reseacher Olga Digonskaya in his last home. It is being orchestrated by the British composer Gerard McBurney and will be performed some time in 2010-2011.