Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarotti for bass and orchestra. Translation by A. Efros.
Completed on July 31, 1974.
To the Exile
Dedication: “To Irina Antonovna Shostakovich”
Premiere: December 23, 1974. Small Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonia.
Performers: Y. Nesterenko and Y. Shenderovich.
First Edition: Score, “Muzyka” Publishers, Moscow, 1975.
Opus 145a. Version for voice and orchestra. Completed Nov. 5, 1974.
Premiere: January 31, 1975. Moscow. Great Hall of the Conservatoire.
Conductor M. Shostakovich. Soloist Y. Nesterenko.
First Edition: D. Shostakovich, Collected Works, Vol. 31, Moscow, 1982.
Manuscripts: The hand-written score is in the archive of the composer’s family.
“March saw the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo’s birth <...> I was shaken by the beauty of his verse, by the depth of his thought, by the clarity and genius of everything to which this great son of the human race turned his hand....
Eight sonnets and three poems by Michelangelo form the core of my suite for bass and piano. They contain lyric moments, tragedy, drama and two rapturous panegyrics in honour of Dante. I took the liberty of providing my own titles for all the songs and romances - the author had not given them names but they stem from the content of the poems.”
“In his last years Shostakovich created a number of great works: a viola sonata, a suite on verses by Michelangelo, his Fifteenth Quartet...He already knew he was dying and he wrote them aloof, as it were, from the petty cares of everyday life.
When Shostakovich was writing his suite on verses by Michelangelo he invited me once to his dacha to listen to it and then he asked for my impressions. <...> I said that the last part stood out from the style of the rest of the work, because the whole piece is atonal, while the last part is tonal. Shostakovich looked at me slyly and said: “Since you have guessed right, I shall tell you that when I was nine years old I composed a piece for piano, the theme of which I somehow remembered. I beg you not to tell this to anybody for as long as I’m alive, otherwise people will think that since childhood I was dreaming of greatness”.
(From an interview given to O. Dvornichenko. Published for the first time).