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Russian Music since 1917Reappraisal and Rediscovery$
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Patrick Zuk and Marina Frolova-Walker

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266151

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266151.001.0001

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Shostakovich’s ‘Lenin Project’: The ‘Pre-Twelfth’ Symphony

Shostakovich’s ‘Lenin Project’: The ‘Pre-Twelfth’ Symphony

(p.280) Chapter 13 Shostakovich’s ‘Lenin Project’: The ‘Pre-Twelfth’ Symphony
Russian Music since 1917

Olga Digonskaya

British Academy

Although Dmitri Shostakovich repeatedly spoke at various points during his life of writing a musical work on the life and legacy of Lenin, it never materialised—leading some commentators to suggest that this was merely a ruse adopted by the composer to placate the authorities. The present chapter draws on the author’s extensive archives researches in the Shostakovich Archive to demonstrate that the contrary appears to be the case—and that Shostakovich appears to have made several serious attempts to realise this project, including an abandoned version of the Twelfth Symphony. She also examines the veracity of the colourful memoirs by the Soviet composer Lev Lebedinsky, who claimed that Shostakovich had intended to write a satirical work about the Bolshevik leader.

Keywords:   Shostakovich, Twelfth Symphony, musical works about Lenin, Lev Lebedinsky

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