Tag Archives: Bernard Haitink

Seeking Shostakovich: Symphony No. 15

Christopher Gibbs, in his program note on the symphony, wrote:

The appearances of the Tell Overture in the first movement (Allegretto) are so striking that one inevitably asks why Shostakovich inserted such a well-known piece. The composer himself divulged little, except that the first movement “describes childhood— just a toyshop, with a cloudless sky above.” Indeed, there is a largely playful tone to the movement, although the conductor Kurt Sanderling recalls sitting with the composer at the Berlin premiere and remarking that, unlike most of the audience, he found the first movement tragic. He reports Shostakovich replied, “You are not wrong. It is tragic, marionette-like: We are all marionettes.” [cite] Continue reading