Dmitri Shostakovich

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Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich[1] (25 September[2] 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century.

Shostakovich achieved 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 the Stalinist bureaucracy. His music was officially denounced twice, in 1936 and 1948, and was periodically banned. Despite this, he also received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. Despite the official controversy, his works were popular and well received.

After a period influenced by Prokofiev and Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style, as exemplified by his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934). This single work juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, including the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and post-Romanticism (after Mahler). Sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque[3] characterize much of his music.

Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His music for chamber ensembles includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two pieces for a string octet, and two piano trios. For the piano he composed two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include two operas, and a substantial quantity of film music.


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