Music For The Day

The third movement from Symphony no. 7, “Leningrad”, Op. 60, by Dmitri Shostakovich:


I know many people dismiss the Leningrad symphony as wartime propaganda, and don’t rank it among one of Shostakovich’s better works, but I love this particular movement, especially in contrast to the famous, bombastic opening movement. The almost-alien, plangent, stark opening chords in the woodwind are to me very evocative of Russia, and of the desolation of a besieged city. I also find the way that Shostakovich has the woodwind cut out at the end of their opening phrase, leaving the strings to hold the note, to be a particularly effective trick of orchestration.

The later variations on the theme, embellished by the violins as a mournful dance, is also very moving.

It is also quite fun to follow along with the score on the YouTube video.