Symphony No.2 "October" with a final chorus to words by A. Bezymensky, for choir and orchestra.
Poco meno mosso
Meno mosso (without a break)
Premiere: November 5, 1927.
Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonia. Symphony Orchestra of the Leningrad Philharmonia and the choir of the Leningrad State Academic Capella. Conductor N. Malko.
First edition: Moscow, "Muzyka" Publishers, 1975.
Manuscripts: in the Russian State Archive for Literature and Art (Stack 653, Inv. 1, Item 2270).
"In 'October' I tried to convey the pathos of struggle and victory. I introduced into the arrangement a system of ultra-polyphony (27 simultaneous lines of sound). It sounds very dynamic."
(D. Shostakovich's report written as a post-graduate of the Leningrad State Conservatoire - undated)
"The ultra-polyphony passing into a polyphonic timbre turned out successfully.
The whole work is predominantly polyphonic. I made use of a canon and a fugue. The music for the chorus is arranged diatonically. The exposition of the whole work is dialectic and linear."
(D. Shostakovich's report written as a post-graduate of the Leningrad State Conservatoire... May 1928)
"There were only six rehearsals... the first was a trial run... I was present at a ll the other rehearsals and kept on giving Malko instructions... The choir sounds fine. By the way, in the choral part there is a small pause after the words 'bears the name of struggle!' The string players refused categorically to playpizzicato. I'd stake my life on the fact that the pizzicato is playable, but if a novice composer writes something difficult, the orchestra will maintain that it is impossible to play. I had to give in and accept arco... I still hope that one day this passage will be played properly".
(From a letter... November 1927).
"As far as the working-class public is concerned 'October' has convinced me that the path I set out on is the right one. When I am composing, I always bear in mind the following. Accessibility and clarity for the mass audience are crucial: the mass audience is the only true judge of music, because music is one of the arts with the widest mass appeal".
(D. Shostakovich's report written as a post-graduate of the Leningrad State Conservatoire... undated)
"Shostakovich's 'October' enjoyed outstanding success... The overwhelming sounds with their impetuous momentum grip the audience like a whirlwind and carry it away, aloft to victory... Shostakovich had almost a dozen curtain-calls".
("Smena" - November 29, 1927)
"Shostakovich's 'October' is imbued with the pathos of the masses in revolt, which he has captured so perfectly".
("Krasnaya Gazeta" - November 9, 1927)