Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Russian Music since 1917Reappraisal and Rediscovery$

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 01 June 2020

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

Abstract and Keywords

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

I SHALL START BY RECALLING a few well-known facts. According to Shostakovich’s own account, he began to plan a symphony in Lenin’s memory as early as 1924, ‘during the days of deep national mourning, when all of toiling humanity was stunned by the death of the beloved leader’.1 His intention was only realised several decades later: the Twelfth Symphony ‘The Year 1917 (To the Memory of Lenin)’, Op. 112, was completed and premiered in 1961. However, the work proved a disappointment—to the composer himself, its performers, music critics and the authorities. Generally viewed a typical example of musical Socialist Realism, it earned the dubious distinction of being considered the weakest of Shostakovich’s symphonies. After the composer’s death some commentators advanced a different interpretation—that the score constituted a message of protest and contained covert anti-Stalinist allusions and subtexts.2

The circumstances surrounding the work’s composition elicited interpretations of various kinds: the symphony’s ideological subject matter, its formal defects (which were acknowledged by Shostakovich himself) and, of course, the protracted and difficult gestation of his ‘Lenin project’ all invited speculation. Shostakovich’s first attempt to engage with the task was not only desultory in the extreme, but also fruitless. Between September 1938 and March 1941, the composer regularly made public statements about his intention to create a musical portrait of Lenin and spoke of the complexities inherent in this undertaking. He freely discussed his plans, alluded to literary and folk sources of inspiration, and referred to completed sketches and fragments of what was initially to be a Sixth Symphony and then a Seventh dedicated to the Bolshevik leader’s memory, but the long-awaited patriotic masterpiece never (p.281) materialised.3 The fact that months went by with no visible results did not pass unremarked—not, however, by the authorities (who seemed to ignore Shostakovich’s flagrant failure to discharge his responsibilities and seemingly took him at his word), but by musicologists. After Shostakovich’s death, they flattered themselves for displaying an enviable perspicacity that amply compensated for the naïvety displayed by Stalinist bureaucrats when it came to artistic matters, and drew sensational inferences regarding the composer’s ‘real’ intentions.

According to Solomon Volkov (speaking through the mouth of his literary creation ‘Shostakovich’ in his work Testimony), the composer’s public promises to write some patriotic work or other were nothing other than a calculated strategy of self-protection: ‘you tell the administration that you’re working on the opera Karl Marx …, and they’ll forgive you your quartet when it appears’.4 Although the dubiousness of Testimony’s claims to authenticity has long been apparent,5 this thesis has been widely adopted not only by musicologists in the West, but also in post-Soviet Russia in their quest for a ‘New Shostakovich’. In the new edition of the composer’s Collected Works, his failure to produce a ‘Lenin’ symphony is explained as follows:

In the conditions of the Terror at the end of the 1930s in the lead-up to Stalin’s sixtieth birthday … Shostakovich’s announcements about being at work on a ‘Lenin Symphony’ were an excellent alibi to deflect attention why he was not writing anything to mark Stalin’s birthday—as the popular slogan had it, ‘Stalin is the Lenin of today’. … There is no trace of this supposedly partially completed composition in the archives. Neither is there any allusion to the existence of any kinds of sketches or drafts for such a work in reminiscences of the composer.6

In other words, as the celebrated Roman legal expression had it, quod non est in actis, non est in mundo (‘what has not been recorded does not exist’). I would argue that this contention is unpersuasive for several reasons. First, Shostakovich often destroyed his sketches, and especially if he considered the works in question to be unsuccessful and undeserving of further effort. Many of his rough drafts were only preserved thanks to the foresight of Levon Atovm’yan.7 Secondly, his sketches for a ‘Lenin Symphony’ could have been (p.282) lost in the chaotic conditions prevailing after the outbreak of war with Nazi Germany. Thirdly, it is unwarranted to assume that all Shostakovich’s surviving manuscripts (musical and otherwise) have come to light and been taken into account. Fourthly, his musical manuscripts include a considerable number of unidentified drafts from different periods. It is possible that documents as yet unknown may facilitate identification of materials pertaining to this early work. Fifthly and finally, there are entirely plausible grounds for believing that Shostakovich did compose at least some of the symphony. In a personal letter to the conductor Boris Khaykin dated 11 May 1941, he wrote:

I greatly like this operetta [Johann Strauss’s Wiener Blut] and I would be happy to undertake the work that you have proposed. We can sort out all the practicalities when I come. It would be good if you could give me a bit more time to do the job. I would like to orchestrate the material that has been selected and finished, and also help to edit it. However, the snag is that I’m working on a symphony at the moment. Will I have enough energy to work on both things at once?8

Even the most suspicious of readers (provided they are capable of sufficient impartiality) would not interpret Shostakovich’s statement as a diplomatic evasion or a ruse. In his letter, he writes with enthusiasm of his potential involvement in Khaykin’s project,9 and airs his concerns with the frankness one might expect when discussing a professional matter with someone who was not only a colleague, but also a friend. There is no reason to suppose that he was prevaricating to avoid having to take on a task that he found unappealing. This could well mean that the pre-war version of the ‘Lenin Symphony’ genuinely existed, and that Shostakovich’s statements to the press were far more truthful than has been thought.

And such seems genuinely to have been the case. If one disregards their ideological excrescences,10 Shostakovich’s announcements give clear and (p.283) generally consistent information about the projected work. It was to be a large-scale solemn symphony requiring the participation of a choir, soloists and reciter, based on Mayaskovsky’s epic poem Vladimir Il’ich Lenin (1923–1924), verses by other Soviet poets (including some from the so-called bratskiye respubliki, ‘brother republics’) and folk sources—folk tales and folk songs about Lenin. Its four movements were to evoke events from the end of the nineteenth century up to the present: Lenin’s early years; Lenin as leader of the October Revolution; Lenin’s death; following Lenin’s path without Lenin. Amongst the compositional challenges presented by the task, Shostakovich mentioned his quests to achieve a unified musical style (given the marked stylistic disparities between the source materials) and to find an adequate musical embodiment of Mayakovsky’s highly declamatory poetry.

His first announcements about the symphony in September–October 1938 already contain all this basic information,11 apart from the details of the programme, which he revealed subsequently.12 Over two years later, and six months after his letter to Khaykin, Shostakovich reiterated more or less the same facts and stressed the same compositional difficulties. It is worth pointing out that, on this occasion, he was not speaking to the press, but at a relaxed colloquium at the State Literary Museum at which he recounted his reminiscences of Mayakovsky. The stenographic transcript of the event records that he spoke in passing about his latest symphony (by that point, it would have been his Seventh), a symphony-oratorio dedicated to Lenin’s memory:

I tried to write music to [Mayakovsky’s] poems. But I found it very difficult and for some reason couldn’t get it to come right. I still can’t get it to come right! But I’ll talk more about that in a while. … I’ve been trying to write the music for a long time and haven’t managed to get very far, but in my new symphony, which I hope to finish in the summer of 1941, I want to draw a lot on the poem about Lenin. I have to say that Mayakovsky is very hard to set. No one has yet managed (p.284) to do it successfully. … I have to say that if I had not heard Mayakovsky reading [i.e. his own verse], I would have found it much harder to write the music. But insofar as this has remained vividly etched on my memory to the present day, I find it even hard to say whether you could call it reading or declamation. … Whatever you’d call it, I want to achieve the same thing or something close to the same thing.

So, about the symphony—or to be more exact, about the oratorio. One of the movements expresses mourning. It’s a fairly big work about Lenin, dedicated to the memory of Lenin. It includes a choir and soloists. I’ve introduced texts, including texts by Mayakovsky. I don’t like talking about works that are not yet written, and I don’t like it when statements appear in the press that I’m working on such-and-such a thing. A year passes, and it seems as though nothing has appeared. And if it has appeared, it would be better if it hadn’t.13 That’s the way it is in the majority of cases. But if this is just a friendly chat, then that’s a different matter, of course.

I’ve also drawn on other texts for the oratorio apart from Mayakovsky. Tikhonov has also promised to write something.14 I’ve drawn on folk tales, songs, legends, and from folklore generally. When I talk about this, people start to become rather concerned that perhaps there will be too many styles in evidence. Maybe that’s true, but it seems to me that a composer ought to be able to unify [all these styles] by means of his own language.

The most important and fundamental thing is that I want first and foremost to use everything that Mayakovsky wrote about Lenin from ‘At the Top of My Voice’ [Vo ves’ golos] onwards,15 but naturally within the framework of my theme about Lenin. Working on a Mayakovsky text is very hard. It’s extraordinarily strange verse. You have to find new kinds of melody. If you set it as recitative, it will sound awful and bad.

I think that the way in which the poem about Lenin was written will have a certain influence, but I don’t want to use it directly. The approach I’m going to take to writing the work is more or less clear to me now.16

(p.285) Shostakovich’s conversational style, with its repetitions, hesitations and other verbal tics, is free of ideological catchphrases and any kind of bombast—unlike his press statements. The information conveyed, however, is wholly consistent. This consistency leads one to think that Shostakovich was genuinely trying to realise a carefully worked-out plan for a symphony, and not merely reiterating a flagrant canard. His recorded comments seem to indicate that the symphony’s programme remained more or less unchanged up to the end of 1940, to judge from his definite allusion to the inclusion of a movement expressive of mourning for Lenin’s death. Some new details are also noteworthy: his apparent decision to omit the part for speaker (references to it are absent from the stenographic record), the possibility of using a specially written new text by Tikhonov and the inclusion of passages from Mayakovsky’s poem ‘At the Top of My Voice’. These new literary sources further strengthen one’s belief in the symphony’s existence. The idea that Shostakovich asked Tikhonov to write a text which he had no intention of setting seems wholly implausible. Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky recalled Shostakovich telling him long afterwards about his attempts to set ‘At the Top of My Voice’, at the time of their collaboration on the cantata The Sun Shines On Our Motherland [Nad Rodinoy nashey solntse siyayet] Op. 90 (1952). According to Dolmatovsky, Shostakovich ‘said that he very much wanted to set to music “At the top of my voice” and other poems by Mayakovsky, and had partially completed some settings. However, he could not allow these settings to be performed because the texts needed to be revised and Mayakovsky’s death rendered this impossible.’17 No such fragments have so far come to light amongst Shostakovich’s papers, but they may well have been intended for inclusion in the projected Seventh Symphony.

There is no reason to believe that Shostakovich cynically lied and tergiversated for months, pretending to be at work on a non-existent composition. The evidence, circumstantial and otherwise, suggests the contrary. Whatever the circumstances may have been that prompted Shostakovich to compose the ‘Lenin’ symphony-oratorio (on which he broke off work with the outbreak of war), he genuinely attempted to carry out his intention. That much seems clear from his letter to Khaykin of 11 May 1941. In all probability, the hindrances that dogged its composition arose not so much from ideological considerations as from purely creative ones. When speaking at the State Literary Museum, Shostakovich eschewed high-flown talk about the artist’s onerous responsibility to achieve a fitting musical representation of Lenin as the great ‘genius of humanity’ (a constant refrain in (p.286) his press statements). He found the principal difficulty to reside in the ‘extremely strange’ nature of Mayakovsky’s poetry, and did not succeed in overcoming it.

Let us now turn to consider some facts concerning the genesis of the Twelfth Symphony, Shostakovich’s other ‘Lenin’ project.18 On 29 October 1960, Shostakovich spoke on the radio about a forthcoming four-movement ‘epic’ work of grandiose proportions that recalled his pre-war plans for a ‘Lenin’ symphony-oratorio. He described its programmatic basis as follows: Lenin’s arrival in Petrograd in 1917; the events of 7 November 1917 (the date of the armed insurrection in the city); the Civil War; the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution. According to the composer, two movements were already virtually complete.19 In the autograph score, which was completed on 22 August 1961, the movements are described somewhat differently: ‘The Year 1917’, ‘Razliv’ (the name of Lenin’s famous hideout in a village outside St Petersburg), ‘Aurora’ (the naval vessel that fired the celebrated shot signalling the commencement of the assault on the Winter Palace) and ‘The Dawn of Humanity’. The programme had evidently undergone significant change during the intervening period, but it is unclear whether the music had to be altered in consequence. According to Shostakovich’s biographer Sof’ya Khentova, the music remained the same: the composer merely narrowed down its programmatic interpretation, and apparently added the titles of the individual movements after the score had been completed.20

Khentova’s observation is justified,21 but it does not necessarily preclude the possibility that Shostakovich could have written and discarded an earlier (p.287) version of the score. Over the last decade, systematic scrutiny of Shostakovich’s manuscripts has revealed the existence of what one might call ‘pre-sketches’ of works which were partially completed both in draft and in full score. An unfinished ‘pre-Ninth’ Quartet and a ‘pre-Ninth’ Symphony (the Symphonic Fragment of 1945) have come to light; and sketches of his first attempts at writing the Second and Tenth Symphonies (dating from 1925 and 1947 respectively),22 as well as a ‘pre-Sixth’ Quartet.23 Shortly before the premiere of the Twelfth, Shostakovich gave Isaak Glikman to understand that his initial ideas for the symphony had been rather different to the end result. In a diary entry dated 23 September 1961, Glikman wrote:

D[mitriy] D[mitriyevich] came to the rehearsal of the Twelfth Symphony. He was in a sour mood. When he was in Leningrad the previous week he said to me:24 ‘You know, I’ve been having some difficulties. The Twelfth Symphony hasn’t turned out well.’ I replied that programme music wasn’t really his thing, although I had a high opinion of the Eleventh Symphony. D. D. said: ‘I’m evidently tired. I’ve aged. I had a rather interesting idea for the symphony but I didn’t manage to realise it fully.’ He added: ‘There are some good things in the second and third movements, though.’25

There is no reason to question the veracity of this information.26 Moreover, it is corroborated by Shostakovich’s letter to Glikman of 15 August 1961 in which the composer once again expressed dissatisfaction with the new symphony, while acknowledging the merits of its second and third movements: ‘The first movement is basically successful. The second and third are almost completely so, and the fourth probably won’t come off. I’m finding it hard to (p.288) write.’27 This strengthens the credibility of Glikman’s next diary entry on 27 September, which records an extremely important admission by Shostakovich about his work on this second ‘Lenin’ project:

Attended the rehearsal of the Twelfth Symphony with Shostakovich. D. D. was anxious to hear my opinion. I said that I liked the first movement, which I thought was the best. This was a superb Allegro. The second movement was poetic, but it was rather insipid and lacked drama. I said nothing about the other movements. D. D. was very upset by my comments, but he would have been upset anyway even if I had said nothing, because he knew that the symphony did not arouse the same response in me that his new works usually did. Shifting in his seat, he suddenly blurted out: ‘I will tell you a secret. I wrote this symphony in ten days.’ This probably wasn’t true, but he evidently felt a need to justify himself. We sat there a while longer in silence, and then he started to proof-read the score of the Twelfth Symphony which had arrived the previous day from Moscow.28

Glikman’s scepticism is understandable: such an extraordinary short period of composition hardly seemed credible. However, his diary entry was written the very same day, hard on the heels of events, and is almost certainly an accurate record of what transpired. There would seem no reason to doubt the truthfulness of this particular statement by the composer, any more than there is to doubt the ones discussed previously. Shostakovich’s claim finds unexpected corroboration from a decidedly unlikely quarter—the former RAPM leader Lev Lebedinsky. Although the reliability of Lebedinsky’s ‘reminiscences’ of Shostakovich has repeatedly been called into question, they are still cited nonetheless, so require consideration here.

In an article published in Novïy mir in 1990, Lebedinsky described the Twelfth Symphony a ‘rare failure’ on its composer’s part and offered the following sensational explanation:

[The] symphony (and I heard this from the composer himself) was conceived as a critical portrayal of Lenin. However, two weeks before its premiere in Leningrad, he came to realise that his intentions were so transparent as to be dangerous, and in an extremely short time, working day and night, he wrote something that was completely new, but unconvincing. Nevertheless, this unsuccessful opus was declared to be a work of genius by obsequious and unprincipled critics, while the composer himself was in despair. Let us hope that historians will manage to find the original version.29

(p.289) Lebedinsky subsequently recounted a more extensive version of the same events embellished with new and vivid details, which was published in Elizabeth Wilson’s Shostakovich: A Life Remembered in 1994.30 In this, he claimed that he had tried to talk Shostakovich out of his dangerous plan to write a ‘satire of Lenin’. Shostakovich was unconcerned, and unbeknownst to Lebedinsky showed the symphony to Tikhon Khrennikov and also ‘to someone else’. On the eve of the premiere in Leningrad, the composer phoned Lebedinsky and asked him to come. When they met before the rehearsal, Shostakovich broke down in tears and told Lebedinsky that he had realised the soundness of his advice in good time and had succeeded in writing a new work in the space of three or four days. It was of poor quality, but would not arouse controversy. At the rehearsal, the symphony impressed Lebedinsky as being hopelessly feeble, but he felt sorry for Shostakovich and kept his opinion to himself. Shostakovich took Lebedinsky by the hand and implored him to keep his secret, which he duly did.31

This account contains much that is surprising—not least, the very high degree of trust that Shostakovich ostensibly placed in Lebedinsky by confiding to him matters that he concealed from Glikman, a very close friend. The latter apparently knew nothing about this ambiguous and dramatic episode, since he makes no allusion to it either in his diary or Letters to a Friend, his edition of the letters that he received from Shostakovich. Glikman constantly accompanied Shostakovich to rehearsals and concerts in Leningrad, but does not mention Lebedinsky’s presence at the rehearsal on the day of the premiere (although it is possible that this rehearsal did not actually take place).32 Neither does he refer to Shostakovich’s antipathy to Lenin—which is perfectly understandable: this would have been psychologically impossible in the 1960s, when the slogan ‘Stalin is the Lenin of today’ was replaced by the (p.290) exhortation to return to Lenin’s precepts—a dominant preoccupation of the period. There is no reason to think that Shostakovich did not sympathise with this aim, which reflected a widespread revival of Romantic political aspirations. His appreciation of the poetry of writers prominent in the 1960s such as Yevgeniy Yevtushenko and Andrey Voznesensky strongly suggests that such was the case.

The date of completion inscribed on the score, 22 August 1961, contradicts Lebedinsky’s claim that Shostakovich started to rewrite the work a fortnight before the premiere on 1 October.33 And even more damaging to the credibility of his story is the letter that Shostakovich sent to him on 28 August 1961:

I finished the symphony and gave a four-hand arrangement of it to Vaynberg and B[oris] Tchaikovsky yesterday. They have promised to learn it in three or four days and I will be able to start showing it to people then. I’m going to Leningrad in a few days for a meeting with Mravinsky. I’m thinking of tape-recording the four-hand performance and bringing the tape with me to Leningrad. The symphony has a programme, but I don’t know what to call the movements (there are four of them). I’ll show it to you when I see you and we can talk about it, if this would be possible for you. I’ll tell you about the programme then too. I’m not going to write any more symphonies. I’m going to write some light pieces for wind instruments.34

This letter does not contain the kind of ‘double-speak’ that abounds elsewhere in both men’s correspondence. It uses ordinary everyday language in a neutral and straightforward way, and the information that it conveys can readily be corroborated from other sources. The date of completion of the symphony is in Shostakovich’s own hand at the end of the score. According to the composer’s desktop diary in which he wrote down his appointments, the tape recording of the four-hand performance of the symphony was made on 1 September 1961—which means that Vaynberg and Tchaikovsky actually did learn the score in three or four days, as planned.35 Shostakovich’s visit to Leningrad on 3–4 September is also recorded in the diary,36 and the meeting with Mravinsky duly took place in the Philharmonic at 1pm on 4 September.37 An entry for 8 September alludes to a play-through of the score at the Composers’ Union.38

(p.291) Other details of the letter suggest that Lebedinsky knew nothing whatsoever about the nature of symphony’s programme at that time—whether satirical or otherwise. For one thing, Shostakovich was genuinely eager to seek his advice about what to call the movements, knowing Lebedinsky’s proficiency in ideological rhetoric: the titles were evidently added after their discussion of the matter. Nor did he conceal from Lebedinsky that he intended to show the score to various people in authority. His letter is calm and businesslike. His muted expression of self-dissatisfaction (‘I’m not going to write any more symphonies. I’m getting old.’) is echoed almost word for word in Glikman’s diary entry for 23 September (‘I’m evidently tired. I’ve aged.’) This ‘sour’ mood, as Glikman characterised it, is scarcely consistent with hysterical sobbing on Lebedinsky’s shoulder from shame at having written a ‘terrible’ work. In brief, Shostakovich’s letter completely undermines Lebedinsky’s credibility. It is interesting to note that when he published his ‘reminiscences’, Lebedinsky took no risks: the letters that he received from Shostakovich were only published after his death. The portion of his personal archive that is available for consultation in the Glinka Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow (fond 530) does not contain any other documents that support his version of events.39

The notion that Shostakovich intended to write a ‘satirical’ symphonic portrait of Lenin remains widespread to this day, in spite of the fact that the letter quoted has long been known and reproduced in several publications. This very questionable notion has to be grounded in at least one piece of firm evidence if it is to be in any way plausible. A number of commentators have adduced as proof the following passage from Sof’ya Khentova’s biography of the composer: ‘The sketches [of the Twelfth Symphony] preserved in the family archive contain fourteen sheets of manuscript paper covered in blue pencil, sketching out the principal melodic line. But on page 26, an extended passage from the Satires appears [i.e. the vocal cycle Satires: Five songs to texts by Sasha Chyornïy for soprano and piano, Op. 109], before the words “he did not understand new poetry” from the fourth song, “Misunderstanding” [Nedorazumeniye], a parodic little waltz tune …’40 Accordingly, they have inferred that the juxtaposition of the sketches of the Satires and the Twelfth (p.292) Symphony confirms that Shostakovich intended the latter to be satirical in nature.

Khentova’s statement is accurate, though one important clarification must be made: the sketches of the Twelfth contain an extraneous sketch of the conclusion of ‘Misunderstanding’, consisting of the vocal line with textual underlay.41 She avers that the contiguity of both works in the same manuscript is explained by Shostakovich’s characteristic tendency (sometimes arising from necessity) to switch from writing large-scale works to miniatures, and that it allows us to date the sketch of the symphony’s opening to June 1960 with certainty.42 Both of these statements are dubious.

Switches between markedly disparate genres were by no means characteristic of Shostakovich’s working habits. The fact that some manuscripts contain sketches for a number of works was not due to the vagaries of inspiration, but for more prosaic reasons. Having experienced as a young man the chronic paper shortages of the early Soviet period, he developed the habit of reusing discarded title pages and any sections of manuscript paper that had been left blank in rough drafts of other compositions.43 He hoarded scraps of paper in the same way that people who had lived through the siege of Leningrad continued to hoard left-over crusts of stale bread, unable to abandon this poignant habit to the end of their days. A year before his death, at a time of his life when he had ample supplies of paper, Shostakovich sketched the Suite on Verses by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Op. 145, on the torn-off title page from the fair copy of his recently completed transcription of the Six Poems of Marina Tsvetayeva, Op. 143 for soprano voice (the original version had been for contralto).

Shostakovich’s excessive thriftiness resulted in the erroneous attribution of his sketches on more than one occasion and in scores being presumed lost—such as the sketch of the finale of Seventh Symphony, which in spite of being dated by the composer, was supposed for many years to be a sketch for the fourth movement of the Piano Quintet, Op. 57, merely because it was preceded by a chronologically earlier sketch of the Quintet’s Scherzo.44 Preliminary sketches for the finale of the Seventh, dated by the composer, (p.293) were also found amongst sketches for unfinished opera The Gamblers,45 alongside a sketch for the operetta The Tobacco Captain (to a libretto by Nikolay Aduyev), which Shostakovich started to composed while in Kuybïshev in 1942.46 Most curiously of all, a manuscript entitled ‘Sketches for the Second Piano Sonata’ turned out not to contain any sketches for the work in question. The error arose from the fact that the composer had discarded this title page and reused it seven years later to make sketches for the 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87.47 Hidden for many years amongst the sketches for the latter work was a fragment of an arrangement for two pianos of the ‘Russian Dance’ from the ballet The Limpid Stream.48 Other sketches for the Preludes and Fugues have been erroneously identified as drafts of the Ten Choral Poems to Verses by Revolutionary Poets, Op. 88, simply because they are contained in the same notebook.49 These examples could easily be multiplied.

The contiguity of the sketches of the Satires and the Twelfth Symphony is an accidental circumstance of the same kind. In the process of making a fair copy of the former work, Shostakovich decided to alter the conclusion of ‘Misunderstanding’.50 As his sketch of the previous version contained three blank pages (on a double sheet), rather than waste them he used them for sketches of the Twelfth Symphony. This succession of events is confirmed by the manuscript: his sketches for the symphony’s first movement, which continue to the end of one page, skip over the sketch of the song on the reverse side of the page to continue on the next page. In sum, there no grounds for positing any connection between the two works, or for believing that the ‘Misunderstanding’ confirms the Twelfth’s satirical import.

It is also apparent that Shostakovich could have reused these pages at any point after completing the song cycle—even up to a year later, which further weakens claims that the song cycle and symphony are related. There is in fact no evidence to support the widely held notion that Shostakovich began to compose the Twelfth in June 1960. Shostakovich’s annotations in the margins and between the staves of the sketch may offer clues to the dating of the Twelfth. These are principally telephone numbers that he hastily jotted down from dictation in the same purple ink used for the sketches, and in two cases, in indelible pencil. With any luck, the names of the people (or the organisations) (p.294) whom Shostakovich telephoned while at work on the score could probably clarify the successive stages of the compositional process and the periods at which each movement was written. For example, the telephone number at the top of page 14 (the end of the second movement) is accompanied by the name ‘Isaak Rafayilovich’. It emerges that this was the first name and patronymic of an obstetrician-gynaecologist called Zak who was attached to the First City Hospital in Moscow (now the N. I. Pirogov City Clinical Hospital No. 1) where Shostakovich’s daughter Galina worked and where his first grandchildren were born—Galina’s son Andrey on 8 June 1960 and Maksim’s son Dmitriy on 9 August 1961. It would consequently follow that in one of those months Shostakovich wrote down the doctor’s number so that he could enquire about the health of his family members.

This information renders it unlikely that Shostakovich began to compose the Twelfth in June 1960. Even if we entertain the possibility that he could have commenced work on it on 20 June, the day after finishing the Satires (which does not seem very probable), he would hardly have got as far as the second movement by the time he wrote down the doctor’s number. Moreover, by 20 June his daughter and newly born grandson had already been sent home from hospital, so it is unlikely he would have had reason to telephone him by that point.51 It would seem equally improbable, given his parsimonious use of manuscript paper, that Shostakovich would have written the number on a blank sheet which he subsequently used for his sketch of the Twelfth. It is consequently more plausible to think that this marginal annotation was made in August 1961 around the time of the birth of his second grandchild.

However, the annotation is not made in ink, but in indelible pencil—which rather complicates matters. As a rule, Shostakovich used an indelible (or ordinary) pencil at a later stage when he was finalising the sketch, using it to write in minor corrections, bar numbers, indications of the instrumentation and so on. He also used pencil to draw a line through pages of the sketches as he elaborated them into the full score, to help him keep track of what he was doing. In keeping with this habit, Shostakovich used an indelible pencil for the same purpose when working on the Twelfth (including its second movement). This would suggest that Shostakovich was engaged in correcting the already completed sketch when he took down Zak’s telephone number—but more than that, one cannot say. The dates of composition of the sketches themselves remain uncertain. Shostakovich also wrote down another telephone number in ink on the first page of the sketches which may help to (p.295) establish when he commenced work on the symphony, but it has yet to be identified.52

The first page of the sketches (a soiled, well-thumbed scrap of score paper which is frayed on the right-hand side) is markedly different to the other sheets of paper, which are laid out for piano four hands—the first three movements being written on twelve-stave manuscript paper measuring 29cm by 23.5cm, and the fourth on fourteen-stave paper measuring 29cm by 22.5cm. Both types of paper are without visible blemishes, apart from the uneven vertical folds in the second kind of paper. It would appear that Shostakovich started to compose the sketch on an odd scrap of paper but broke off before he got to the second subject, resuming work when he obtained a new ream of piano four-hand manuscript paper. There is no indication when this might have happened. It was probably at this point that Shostakovich, having looked back over what he had written, sketched on the first system of this paper a new interpolation (a passage preceding the second subject, corresponding to the bars immediately before and after figure 12 in the published score).53 After this, he took up the sketch from where it had been broken off on the original scrap of paper, and having reached the bottom of the page, continued on the page on which he had written the interpolation. That this was the sequence of events is confirmed by the fact that the continuation of the second subject on the new four-hand score paper was written down after the sketch of the interpolation (it skips across it, as had happened with the sketch of ‘Misunderstanding’). This means that the interpolation must have been notated before Shostakovich started to compose the second subject. Common sense would suggest that he was unlikely to have broken off writing down the second subject in order to jot down a passage of lesser importance.

I would like to draw attention to one further matter pertaining to the chronology of the compositional process. The second subject theme of the first movement is unlikely to have been composed and written down before Shostakovich had completed his score for the film Five Days, Five Nights, Op. 111, on which he worked in July–August 1960, given the strong similarities between the rhythm and melodic contours of its opening bars with the main theme of one of the unfinished movements of the film’s incidental music.54 (Both outline a descent from the tonic to the submediant followed by an upwards leap to the subdominant and subsequent return to the initial tonic note.) It seems improbable that Shostakovich would have recycled such an immediately recognisable theme from his as yet unfinished symphony about (p.296) Lenin for use in a film score. This would not have been out of anxiety that critics would reproach him for self-plagiarism (the film was first screened on 23 November 1961, not long after the symphony’s premiere on 1 October): it would have run contrary to his usual creative practice. As Laurel Fay has rightly observed, ‘it would have been completely out of character for Shostakovich to cannibalise material from a “serious” work to use in a work of a light genre’; and on the whole, he regarded film music as being in the latter category.55

Nor does it seem warranted to suppose that the second subject was composed first, and then that he sketched the film number and orchestrated the greater part of it—only to abandon it, having suddenly realised the resemblance between the two themes. The reason evidently lay elsewhere, since Shostakovich would have had good reason to remember this particular melodic contour. In the first place, it forms the basis of a theme featuring in his film score Belinsky, Op. 85 (1950). In around August 1959 Lev Atovm’yan extracted a suite of the same name from this score, so the composer would almost certainly had opportunity to examine the score and refamiliarise himself with this idea composed a decade previously, even had he forgotten it.56 Incidentally, shortly after completing the score for Belinsky Shostakovich found it expedient to use the same melodic contour (of a bar and a half) in his cantata The Sun Shines On Our Motherland to set the words ‘The standard-bearers of the twentieth century…’ (Znamenostsï dvadtsatogo veka …).57 (This passage did not make it into the final version of the cantata.)

Secondly, Shostakovich used a similar motif at the start of one of the versions of his song to a text by Dolmatovsky ‘We Are All a Bastion of Soviet Power’ [Mï vsye oplot sovetskoy vlasti], which was written not later than June 1960 and is, moreover, in the same key of B-flat major as the Belinsky theme and the second subject of the Twelfth. Clearly, this idea was not only in Shostakovich’s mind, but also on the tip of his pen. After abandoning the number for Five Days, Five Nights there was nothing to stop him using it in (p.297) the Twelfth Symphony.58 This would have been quite consistent with his practice of reusing material (as distinct from his practice of self-citation) provided the new work belonged to a genre of comparable or greater weight. Material could be transferred from one symphony or one opera to another, for example, or from an opera to a symphony. Similarly, material from a ballet could be incorporated in an opera or ideas from a film score could be reworked in a symphony—but not the other way around.

To return to the sketch of the song ‘Misunderstanding’: its presence amongst the sketches for the Twelfth Symphony was to play a fateful role. There would seem little doubt that this circumstance prompted Lebedinsky’s fabulation about a ‘satire of Lenin’. He subsequently added other details—such as the hasty composition of the score (though Shostakovich’s remark to Glikman suggests that it may genuinely have been written very quickly),59 Shostakovich’s supposed abandonment of his original ‘interesting’ plan and his subsequent disappointment with the work. The concrete facts continued to be subjected to freewheeling interpretations. In the course of subsequent retellings, a single page with a sketch of a satirical waltz theme from Satires became transformed into a ‘satirical waltz’ from Satires, raising the question of Shostakovich’s possible attitude to Lenin, whom the symphony ostensibly commemorated.60 In such wise was the story of the non-existent ‘secret satire’ born.

It would be pointless to seek to analyse the motives of the 80-year-old Lebedinsky, an ambitious and envious man of an irascible and touchy disposition who felt undervalued by his contemporaries. He had been mortally wounded by a rift with Shostakovich in the mid-1960s and by his exclusion from the editorial board of Shostakovich’s Collected Works after the composer’s death.61 Lebedinsky read Khentova’s two-volume biography but did not agree with her portrayal of the composer, which was shaped by the usual ideological constraints on Soviet publications.62 He had opportunity to see (p.298) Shostakovich’s sketch of the symphony that included the pages of the song from Satires. After the sensation caused by Testimony Lebedinsky succumbed to the temptation of producing comparable ‘testimony’ of his own. His manuscript was turned down by the Paris-based émigré journal Kontinent in 1981,63 but in 1990, after the onset of perestroika, he managed to get it published at home in the journal Novïy mir. His recounting of the tale to Elizabeth Wilson became the definitive version of this myth about the Twelfth Symphony, in which he cast himself in the flattering role of the composer’s sole confidant.64

The inclusion of the sketch of the song from Satires amongst the pages of the draft of the Twelfth, which is incontrovertibly consistent with Shostakovich’s usual practice of saving paper, does not afford any objective grounds to indulge in the ‘hermeneutic ventriloquism’ against which Richard Taruskin has cautioned.65 The question also arises whether there is any cause to believe Lebedinsky’s claim concerning the existence of an earlier version of the symphony, which he urged scholars to unearth. Could Shostakovich actually have composed such a ‘pre-Twelfth’ Symphony? The answer is a definite yes.

In 2007, while examining a bundle of unsorted manuscripts in the Shostakovich family archive, I came across a fragment of a fair copy of an unknown orchestral composition in A minor, which occupied both sides of a sheet of 30-stave score paper measuring 38cm by 27cm, with the composer’s pagination ‘1’. It was undated and untitled.66 I was subsequently able to identify and put into order other stray pages from the same composition, sketches for longer passages of 52 and 190 bars respectively. The reconstituted manuscript sketch comprises two double sheets (only the two upper systems of the second are filled) and half of a double sheet with music sketched on (p.299) three systems—in total, five pages of 14-stave piano score paper measuring 29cm by 22.5cm.67 The sketches, like the score, are written in purple ink.

Shostakovich used identical paper and ink for his sketches of the Twelfth: score paper for the draft of the first movement (up to figure 34) and piano score paper for the sketches of the symphony’s finale. The score paper even has the same uneven vertical folds to which I have referred previously—which suggests that the sheets came from the same ream. The composer used the same paper to sketch his song ‘We Are All a Bastion of Soviet Power’, the film score for Five Days, Five Nights,68 and later in 1962, for his sketches and part of the piano score of his Thirteenth Symphony.69 This information allows us to date this hitherto unknown composition with reasonable confidence to the early 1960s. The nature of its musical material and the manner in which it is developed indicate a large-scale symphonic project, which at that time can only have been the ‘Lenin Symphony’.70

The surviving fragments show an undoubted similarity to the music of the Twelfth. The theme of the introduction, an idea intoned on unison horns that plainly recalls themes by Musorgsky and Borodin evoking the worlds of legend and epic, strongly resembles the ‘epigraph’ that opens the symphony, and which represents ‘the summons of history’ and ‘the voice of Time’. As in the Twelfth, this introductory theme forms the basis for the first subject, and its leitmotif-like organisational role is clearly apparent from the sketches.71 There are many other correspondences with the Twelfth’s first movement. Aside from the programmatic obviousness of the musical material and the ‘epic’ manner in which it is treated, they have in common a persistently martial character with obsessively pervasive dotted rhythms (these abound in the first (p.300) subject, notwithstanding its epic cast); similar kinds of string figurations; and passages in five-four time, which are not all that common in Shostakovich’s work. There are even more striking coincidences—for example, concealed quotations from the Revolutionary song ‘Boldly, Comrades, In Step’ (occurring respectively in bars 41–2 of the orchestral fragment and in the bars after figure 28 of the Twelfth). The two works are also commensurate in scale: the second subject of the orchestral fragment commences in bar 129, and that of the first movement of the Twelfth in bar 137. There is consequently compelling reasons for believing this previously unidentified work to be an earlier version of the Twelfth. Needless to add, there is nothing to suggest satirical or caricatural intent—which further discredits Lebedinsky’s story.

The additional question arises whether this orchestral fragment might have formed part of an attempt to realise the grandiose historical programme to which Shostakovich alluded in the radio interview of October 1960. However, the existing sketch material comprises only part of a movement and breaks off at the end of the second subject—whereas Shostakovich spoke of having completed two movements. There would seem no reason to suppose that he might have destroyed most of what he had written, preserving only this fragment. It would seem more likely that the manuscript represented an even earlier attempt to write a work about Lenin. One possibility to consider is that this may have been the score to which Shostakovich alluded in a letter of 18 May 1960 to Yevgeniy Mravinsky. Writing almost six months before the radio interview, Shostakovich informed his correspondent: ‘I am trying to write my Twelfth Symphony but work is going badly. In the first place, I don’t have enough time and leisure to think, and secondly, I am finding the task itself difficult.’72 The composer was clearly dissatisfied with his efforts. By all appearances, the orchestral fragment seems to have been preserved in its entirety, as it breaks off in mid-page—it probably did not continue any further. It would seem more likely that Shostakovich was referring in his letter to the ‘definitive’ version of the Twelfth. His statement that ‘work is going badly’ might explain why his sketch of the opening on a torn-off scrap of score paper was broken off and resumed subsequently. If this is the case, then the orchestral fragment in A minor must date from an even earlier period.

Shostakovich may well have made multiple unsuccessful attempts to come up with suitable musical material for a symphony to commemorate Lenin, feeling unable to back out of the project. Other manuscript materials in the Shostakovich archive suggest as much—for example, a three-bar fragment in A minor jotted down on the same page as a sketch of one of the versions of (p.301) his song ‘We Are All a Bastion of Soviet Power’,73 the contours of which resemble the ‘epigraph’ theme of the Twelfth.

Another unidentified sketch in E-flat major, dated ‘9 March’, with no indication of the year, may also be a possible candidate.74 If Shostakovich dated a sketch, it usually meant that the work in question was in a ‘serious’ genre—never one that he regarded as ‘light’ (such as ballet, mass songs, films scores and incidental music). It seems reasonable to assume that the fragment was of a score falling into the former category. It is written on the same kind of manuscript paper (twelve-stave score paper measuring 29cm by 23.5cm) as the sketches and piano reduction of the Twelfth as well as a number of other compositions dating from the period 1959–1962, including the sketches of the Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 107,75 the sketches and fair copy of the Satires,76 the sketches for the film score Five Days, Five Nights,77 and the piano reduction of the Thirteenth Symphony.78 The fact that the fragment is in the key of E-flat might initially lead one to think that it may have been a preliminary sketch for the cello concerto, but this possibility can be ruled out. In March 1959 Shostakovich was wholly engrossed in orchestrating Musorgsky’s opera Khovanshchina, which he only completed on 26 April. In March 1960, over two months before he wrote to Mravinsky, he was trying his utmost to work out ideas for the symphony in memory of Lenin, which he evidently felt under considerable pressure to deliver. The fragment could well date from then. His reason for discarding the material was probably because it was too reminiscent of the opening of Liszt’s First Piano Concerto, also in the key of E-flat major.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasise a key point. The pre-war ‘Lenin Symphony’, the fragments of Mayakovsky settings, the ‘pre-Twelfth’ Symphony in A minor and a number of other materials which still await identification and close scrutiny all testify to Shostakovich’s protracted and laborious efforts to satisfy official expectations that he would write a work about Lenin. He took the task seriously and his public statements about it were truthful and sincere. The reasons why he never succeeded in realising his plan are a matter for a separate discussion. (p.302)

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

Figure 13.1 Score of the ‘pre-Twelfth’ Symphony, first page


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

Figure 13.2 Sketch of the ‘pre-Twelfth’ Symphony, first page


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

Figure 13.3 Sketch of the Introduction to the ‘pre-Twelfth’ Symphony


Proceedings of the British Academy, 209, 280–304. © The British Academy 2017.

(1) Dmitriy Shostakovich, ‘Pamyati vozhdya’, Leningradskaya pravda, 20 January 1940.

(2) For accounts of the genesis and first performances of the Twelfth Symphony, see Levon Akopyan’s essays, both entitled ‘Dvenadtsataya simfoniya “1917 god” D. D. Shostakovicha’, in Dmitriy Shostakovich, Novoye sobraniye sochineniy, vol. 12 (Moscow, DSCH, 2013), pp. 226–30, and vol. 27, pp. 114–15. Hereafter, Novoye sobraniye sochineniy is abbreviated to NSS.

(3) See Laurel Fay, Shostakovich: A Life (New York, Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 118–19; Manashir Yakubov, ‘Shestaya simfoniya D. D. Shostakovicha. K istorii i predïstorii sozdaniya proizvedeniya’, in NSS, vol. 21 (Moscow, DSCH, 2004), pp. 106–8; and idem, ‘Sed’maya simfoniya D. D. Shostakovicha: istoriya sozdaniya’, in NSS, vol. 7 (Moscow, DSCH, 2010), p. 252.

(4) Solomon Volkov (ed.), Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich, trans. Antonina Bouis (New York, Harper Colophon Books, 1979), p. 257.

(5) See Laurel Fay, ‘Shostakovich versus Volkov: Whose Testimony?’, Russian Review, 39 (1980), 484–93; and idem, ‘Vozvrashchayas’ k “Svidetel’stvu’, in Lyudmila Kovnatskaya (ed.), Shostakovich: Mezhdu mgnoveniyem i vechnost’yu (St Petersburg, Kompozitor, 2000), pp. 762–88.

(7) Atovm’yan asked Shostakovich’s home help Fedos’ya Kozhukhova to retrieve the composer’s sketches from the wastepaper basket and to give them to him for safekeeping. He subsequently donated them to the Glinka Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow. See Nelli Kravets (ed.), Ryadom s velikimi: Atovm’yan i yego vremya (Moscow, GITIS, 2012), p. 274.

(8) Quoted in N. Braginskaya, ‘Shostakovich v mire klassicheskoy operettï’, in O. Digonskaya and L. Kovnatskaya (eds.), Dmitriy Shostakovich: issledovaniya i materialï, vïp. 2 (Moscow, DSCH, 2007), pp. 55–95 at p. 78.

(9) See ibid., pp. 76–83.

(10) Shostakovich’s pronouncements about Lenin were couched in all the customary clichés of the period. A representative passage from an interview published in the Rostov-on-Don newspaper Bol’shevistskaya smena on 30 March 1941 runs: ‘[The Seventh Symphony] is dedicated to V. I. Lenin, the leader of genius of all toiling humanity. Lenin was the mountain eagle who knew no fear in combat and who bravely led the Party forward, believing in the creative strength of the mass and the masses. Lenin as the most human of human beings—this is what I tried to embody in a grandiose symphony’ (quoted in Yakubov, ‘Shestaya simfoniya’, p. 108 fn30). The text contains direct allusions to the sections ‘The mountain eagle’, ‘Modesty’, ‘Faith in the masses’ and ‘The Genius of the Revolution’ in Stalin’s speech to a group of military cadets on 28 January 1924, reported in Pravda on 12 February 1924. It even includes an exact quotation: ‘[Lenin] is the mountain eagle who is fearless in battle and boldly leads the Party forward…’, from Mikoyan’s article ‘Stalin is the Lenin of Today’, Pravda, 21 December 1939. The reference to the ‘mountain eagle’ and the other borrowings were probably taken from this secondary source, and almost undoubtedly introduced by the editor rather than the composer. The image of Lenin as a ‘mountain eagle’ evidently prompted the idea that this statement of Shostakovich’s has ‘an almost parodic character’ (Yakubov, ‘Shestaya simfoniya’, p. 108 fn30). However, it would be a mistake to view the newspaper article as conveying the composer’s covert mockery of the regime: Stalin’s metaphor was ubiquitously employed in the press and in mass songs, becoming a commonplace. In the cantata The Sun Shines Over Our Motherland (1952), Shostakovich had to set the line ‘Under the banner of the Soviets, the mighty Lenin, the mountain eagle, led the motherland’.

(11) See ‘Novïye rabotï kompozitora D. Shostakovicha’, Izvestiya, 20 September 1938; ‘Zametki kompozitora’, Literaturnaya gazeta, 20 November 1938; and ‘Simfoniya pamyati Lenina’, Sovetskoye iskusstvo, 20 November 1938.

(12) ‘Novïye rabotï Shostakovicha’, Leningradskaya pravda, 28 August 1939.

(13) It is possible that Shostakovich is referring here to some previous version of a ‘Lenin’ Symphony that was supposed to be his Seventh, but which he never completed. In mid-January 1940, he gave details of this future opus (Mayakovsky’s poem ‘Lenin’ was to form the basis of most of the four movements) and spoke of his intention to finish it in the same year (Leninskaya iskra, Leningrad edition, 17 January 1940). By November, the composer stated that the work was already nearing completion: ‘I am excited to be in the closing stages of work on my Seventh Symphony, which I intend to finish in 1941’ (Moskovskiy bol’shevik, 14 November 1940). Two weeks later, Shostakovich called the long-planned symphony ‘a forthcoming new work’ (‘Novïy kvintet D. Shostakovicha’, Teatral’naya nedelya, 2 December 1940), but gave no indication of how close to completion it was. It cannot consequently be ruled out that in his talk for the Literature Museum the composer could have been referring to a recently commenced new version of the symphony.

(14) The Soviet poet and prose writer Nikolay Tikhonov (1896–1976).

(15) One of Mayakovsky’s last poems, left incomplete at his death.

(16) ‘Gosudarstvennïy literaturnïy muzey. Vospominaniya kompozitora Shostakovicha o Mayakovskom. 24 dekabrya 1940 goda’. GLM, f. 130, op. 2, yed. khr. 24, ll. 3, 7, 8, 9–10.

(17) Ye. Dolmatovskiy, [Vospominaniya o Shostakoviche], Muzïkal’noye prosveshcheniye, 4 (2006), 12.

(18) In the autographs of the full score and four-hand piano transcription of the Twelfth Symphony (Shostakovich Archive [hereafter: SA], f. 1, r. 1, yed. khr. 46 and 48) the subtitle ‘The Year 1917’ is absent. It was evidently added later when the score was prepared for publication by Sovetskiy kompozitor in 1961.

(19) ‘D. Shostakovich rasskazïvayet o svoey rabote nad Dvenadtsatoy simfoniyey’, Muzïkal’naya zhizn’, 21 (1960), 10.

(20) S. Khentova, Shostakovich: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo, vol. 2 (Leningrad, Sovetskïy kompozitor, 1986), p. 364.

(21) There are other instances of Shostakovich doing something similar—for example, in the score of the Eleventh Symphony (RGALI, f. 2048, op. 2, yed. khr. 1). Apart from the title of the first movement, ‘Dvortsovaya ploshchad’, about which Shostakovich evidently had no doubts, the titles of the other movements were added to the score later. According to Isaak Glikman’s diary, the composer first planned to title the third movement ‘Vechnïy pokoy’ (i.e. Requiem aeternam), although he presumed that this ‘would set tongues wagging’ (entry for 2 September 1957, SA, f. 4, r. 2, yed. khr. 4). In the score, the definitive title of the third movement, ‘Vechnaya pamyat’’ [Eternal Memory], was inserted on top of an erasure of a still legible intervening title ‘Vï zhertvoyu pali v bor’be rokovoy’ (‘You fell as victims in the fateful struggle’—the opening words of a famous Revolutionary song quoted in the work).

(22) See Olga Digonskaya, ‘O nekotorïkh nerealizovannïkh simfonicheskikh zamïslakh Shostakovicha (po materialam e.skizov), in Lyudmila Kovnatskaya et al. (eds.), Pamyati Mikhaila Semyonovicha Druskina, vol. 1 (St Petersburg, OOO ‘Allegro’, 2009), pp. 408–48.

(23) The autograph score indicates that Shostakovich began to make sketches for his Sixth Quartet in G major, Op. 101 on 2 July 1956 (RGALI, f. 2048, op. 2, yed, khr. 12). However, on ll. 15–16 there are sketches for another work (in A major) dated 14 June 1956. These passages do not appear in the Sixth Quartet and their presence has passed unremarked in the scholarly literature. On the last page of the autograph (l. 17) there is an undated sketch of a further unidentified fragment. Since they are found amongst the sketches for the Sixth Quartet, they presumably also date from 1956. The tonality of G major and the character of the thematic material display obvious similarities to the second movement of the Eleventh Symphony. It is not impossible that these sketches were Shostakovich’s initial ideas for the symphony in 1956—yet another ‘pre-draft’—and that their inclusion amongst the sketches for the Sixth Quartet is purely accidental.

(24) Shostakovich came to Leningrad for two days on 15 and 16 September: see O. Dombrovskaya, ‘Geokhronograf D. D. Shostakovicha’, in L. Kovnatskaya and M. Yakubov (eds.), Dmitriy Shostakovich: Issledovaniya i materialï, vïp. 1 (Moscow, DSCH, 2005), p. 197.

(25) SA, f. 4, r. 2, yed. khr. 4, l. 16.

(26) Shostakovich’s diary entry for 23 September 1961 reads: ‘Leningrad. Rehearsal at 11’ (SA, f. 4, r. 1, yed. khr. 4, l. 139).

(27) I. Glikman (ed.), Pis’ma k drugu: Pis’ma D. D. Shostakovich k I. D. Glikmanu (Moscow, DSCH, 1993), p. 167.

(28) SA, f. 4, r. 2, yed. khr. 4, ll. 16–17. The date of the rehearsal is once again confirmed by Shostakovich’s diary: the entry for 27 September 1961 reads: ‘Rehearsal at 11’ (l. 141).

(29) L. Lebedinskiy, ‘O nekotorïkh muzïkal’nikh tsitatakh v proizvedeniyakh D. Shostakovicha’, Novïy mir, 3 (1990), 262–7 at 267.

(30) See Elizabeth Wilson, Shostakovich: A Life Remembered (Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 1994), p. 344.

(31) See the Russian-language edition of Wilson’s Shostakovich: A Life RememberedE. Uilson, Zhizn’ Shostakovicha, rasskazannaya sovremennikami, trans. Olga Manulkina (St Petersburg, Kompozitor, 2006), pp. 385–6. For this, the text of Lebedinsky’s interview was re-transcribed from the original recording. There are a number of discrepancies with the English-language version (compare pp. 346–7): there is no allusion to Khrennikov, for example. As Levon Hakobian points out, Lebedinsky gave yet a third version of events: ‘According to his reminiscences, Shostakovich initially intended to satirise Lenin in his symphony, but not long before the premiere Lebedinsky persuaded the composer to rewrite the music hastily to make it sound “orthodox”’ (Akopyan, ‘Dvenadtsataya simfoniya’, p. 115). This changes the emphasis: Lebedinsky claimed to be the direct initiator of the ‘orthodox’ version of the symphony. Consequently, not only the Twelfth Symphony and the history of its genesis, but also Lebedinsky’s own testimony came to be mythologised. In Hakobian’s view, Lebedinsky’s testimony is ‘patently unreliable’.

(32) When Shostakovich attended rehearsals of his compositions, he usually made a note of them in his diary. The entry for 1 October 1961 only mentions the performance (SA, f. 4, r. 1, yed. khr. 4, l. 143).

(34) M. Konisskaya, ‘Dusha i maska: Pis’ma D. D. Shostakovicha k L. N. Lebedinskomu’, Muzïkal’naya zhizn’, 23–4 (1993), 11–14 at 13.

(35) SA, f. 4, r. 1, yed. khr. 4, l. 128. The word ‘recording’ (zapis’) was entered for 1 September 1961.

(38) Ibid. The entry for 8 September 1961 reads: ‘RSSK [Russian Union of Soviet Composers] at 13.00’ and ‘RSSK at 15.00’.

(39) Paradoxically, Lebedinsky’s account is indirectly refuted by that of Solomon Volkov. Volkov’s ‘Shostakovich’ merely says that he started the Twelfth Symphony with one creative aim and finished with a completely different one because ‘the material put up resistance’ (Testimony, p. 107)—which completely tallies with Shostakovich’s comment, quoted by Glikman, about the ‘interesting idea’ for the symphony which he was unable to realise. Evidently, Volkov did not know of Lebedinsky’s scandalous ‘testimony’, or he would not have hesitated to draw on it. This furnishes indirect proof that Lebedinsky’s version originated after the publication of Volkov’s book.

(40) Khentova, Shostakovich, vol. 2, p. 363. Khentova’s description of the sketches contain a number of inaccuracies: for example, they comprise fifteen rather than fourteen pages.

(41) SA, f. 1, r. 1, yed. khr. 185, ll. 6–7. The sketches for the Satires (apart from the section included with the Twelfth Symphony, which had been presumed lost), is reproduced in facsimile in NSS, vol. 91 (Moscow: DSCH, 2010), pp. 197–214.

(42) Khentova, Shostakovich, vol. 2, p. 363. This dating is still generally accepted.

(43) See Olga Digonskaya, ‘O vtoroy sonate Shostakovicha: K probleme atributsii avtografov D. D. Shostakovicha’, in Digonskaya and Kovnatskaya (eds.), D. D. Shostakovich: isssledovaniya i materialï, vïp. 2, 136–71; and idem, ‘Notnaya bumaga’, in L. Kovnatskaya (ed.), Shostakovich v Leningradskoy konservatorii: 1919–1930, vol. 2 (St Petersburg, Kompozitor, 2013), pp. 229–39.

(45) Ibid., pp. 420–6.

(46) VMOMK, f. 32, yed. khr. 261, l. 10ob. This sketch was identified by the author in 2009.

(47) See O. Digonskaya, ‘Istoriya odnogo zabluzhdeniya: O vtoroy sonate dlya fortepiano (K problem atributsii avtografov D. D. Shostakovicha)’, in O. Digonskaya and L. Kovnatskaya (eds.), Dmitriy Shostakovich: issledovaniya i materialï, vïp. 2, pp. 136–71.

(48) See Olga Digonskaya, ‘Spisok atributsiy’, Muzïkal’naya akademiya, 2 (2006), 102–7 at 103.

(50) For a discussion of the discrepancies between the sketch and the final version of the song, see L. Akopyan, ‘Poyasnitel’nïye zamechaniya’, in Dmitriy Shostakovich, Simfoniya No. 12 ‘1917 god’, Op. 60. Partitura (Moscow, DSCH, 2013), pp. 155–6.

(51) According to Shostakovich’s daughter Galina, while it was wholly possible that Shostakovich might have telephoned Zak during the period immediately following the birth of his grandson, he was unlikely to have done so subsequently. (Personal communication, 15 September 2014).

(52) A search through the notebook in which Shostakovich’s listed phone numbers drew a blank. I would like to thank Irina Shostakovich for allowing me to consult this item.

(54) SA, f. 1, r. 1, yed. khr. 251 (sketches) and 252 (unfinished score). In 2005, the author tentatively identified these materials are the first version of the number ‘Vstupleniye’ [Introduction].

(55) L. Fey, ‘Mitya v Myuzik-holle’, Muzïkal’naya akademiya, 4 (1997), 59–62 at 62.

(56) For a discussion of the similarity of this theme to the second subject of the Twelfth’s first movement, see M. Sabinina, Shostakovich-simfonist: dramaturgiya, e.stetika, stil’ (Moscow, Muzïka, 1976), pp. 348–9.

(57) SA, f. 1, r. 1, yed. khr. 218, l. 2ob., bars 7–8. The second sketch for the first version of the cantata that I have identified (ibid., yed. khr. 282) shows that one of its episodes featured Lenin’s meeting with the writer Herbert Wilson in 1920 and his plans to provide the entire country with electricity. In a certain sense, one could consider this to be another approach to ‘Lenin’ subject matter (like, moreover, the song ‘We Are All a Bastion of Soviet Power’, which contains the words ‘under Lenin’s banner’).

(58) The music for the unfinished number from Five Days, Five Nights includes turns of phrase from both versions of the song ‘We Are All a Bastion of Soviet Power’. The same is true of the second subject of the first movement of the Twelfth. This shows that the sketches for the song predated both the music of the film and of the symphony.

(59) According to Shostakovich, the Twelfth was written in 1961, but it has not so far proved possible to establish the exact time period.

(60) Wilson, Shostakovich, p. 344. See also: D. Redepenning, ‘Shostakovich’s Song-Cycles’, in David Fanning (ed.), Shostakovich Studies (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 213.

(61) Irina Shostakovich has discussed the rift between the two men in conversations with the author. Lebedinsky’s pique at being excluded from the editorial board is evident from his correspondence with the musicologist Lev Mazel’ (Mazel’ to Lebedinsky, 10 December 1984 and 8 January 1985, VMOMK, f. 530, yed. khr. 479 and 480).

(62) This is implied by the contents of a letter from the musicologist Danie.l’ Zhitormirsky to Lebedinsky of 31 July 1990 (VMOMK, f. 530, yed. khr. 404), in which Zhitomirsky praises Lebedinsky’s Novïy mir article, talks about his own memoirs (written ‘from the same points of view’, but with references to Volkov’s book) and discusses Khentova’s ‘falsifications’, clearly believing Lebedinsky to be of like mind.

(63) Amongst Lebedinsky’s papers is a letter from a member of the journal’s editorial board confirming receipt of his essay (Georges Nivat to Lebedinsky, 17 August 1981, VMOMK, f. 530, yed. khr. 6).

(64) In the sketches of his poem in verse ‘After the Fourteenth Symphony’ (whose poetic merits are very slight indeed), Lebedinsky explicitly affirms that Shostakovich called him his ‘confidant’ and shared with his secret thoughts and plans with him (VMOMK, f. 530, yed. khr. 33, ll. 68 and 102). However, when describing certain phases of the composer’s life and work, including the dramatic episode of his admittance to the Party, Lebedinsky never once referred to the story of the Twelfth Symphony.

(65) See Richard Taruskin, Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays (Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 468–97.

(67) SA, f. 1, r. 1, yed. khr. 285, ll. 1–5. The manuscript comprises seven pages, but ll. 6 and 7 (a double page with the sketch of the conclusion of the First Cello Concerto) was included by mistake.

(69) SA, f. 1, r. 1, yed. khr. 56, ll. 17–52 (piano score); and yed. khr. 58, ll. 1–10, and 18–23 (sketches).

(70) I first presented my findings about the score and sketches of the ‘pre-Twelfth’ Symphony at an IMS Symposium in Petrozavodsk in September 2011. Manashir Yakubov identified the sketches as a version of the symphony’s ‘Revolutionary Petrograd’ movement (see A. Ivashkin, ‘Poyasnitel’nïye zamechaniya’, in NSS, vol. 47 (Moscow, DSCH, 2011), p. 112 fn4).

(71) The opening of the sketches does not contain the introduction, but it is present in the score. From this it would follow that the idea for the introduction arose while the sketch was being orchestrated. The sketch of the introduction is written on a separate page (l. 5) which is torn from a double page. The first version of the song ‘We Are All a Bastion of Soviet Power’ was written on the other half, as can be seen if one aligns the two along the tear. It is difficult to say whether Shostakovich might have torn the sheet in half before or after sketching the introduction, but it would seem logical to suggest the former: Shostakovich had the idea of prefacing the symphony with an introduction, immediately sketched it on paper that was to hand which happened to have blank pages, and then carefully tore off the required part of the double page. The fact that the sketch of the song was evidently on the composer’s work-desk also testifies to the chronological closeness of the song and the symphonic plan.

(72) A. Vavilina-Mravinskaya, ‘“Spasibo Vam za to, chto Vï yest’, za to, chto Vï sozdayote, za to, chto mne dano kasat’sya Vashikh sozdaniy’ (D. D. Shostakovich—Ye. A. Mravinskiy)’, Muzïkal’naya akademiya, 4 (1997), 98.