Shostakovich fragment to receive UK premiere
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
A largely unknown Shostakovich violin sonata fragment will receive its UK premiere tomorrow at the University of Manchester. The six-minute section, which was discovered after the composer’s death, will be performed by Marc Danel from the university’s resident Quatuor Danel, and Manchester professor of music and Gramophone critic David Fanning.
The sonata section was written in 1945, 23 years before the composer’s only complete Violin Sonata, Op 134, and in part forms the basis for the third theme of the Tenth Symphony’s first movement. Although it is widely believed that the Tenth Symphony was written in reaction to the death of Stalin, the fragment shows Shostakovich used earlier ideas for the 1953 work.
‘This six-minute fragment breaks off towards the end of what would evidently have been the first movement of a full-length sonata,’ said David Fanning. ‘Restrained and lyrical in tone, the music is remarkable for its clear foreshadowing of the first movement of the Tenth Symphony - arguably Shostakovich's greatest orchestral masterpiece, composed seven years later. Various Shostakovich works have been rediscovered in recent years, following the opening up of Soviet archives in Russia. Some of these pieces, like this one, have been known about for some years, but not published or performed. This fragment is of particular interest, as it adds another piece to the puzzle of what constituted Shostakovich’s creative process.’
Unearthed at the Russian State Archives for Literature and Art, the work was first performed in Russia in 2006. The UK premiere takes place on January 19 at 1.10pm in the Martin Harris Centre, University of Manchester.