Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) is called a ruthless chronicler of the time he lived in. The fate of the artist is intertwined with the complex contradictory reality of Soviet Russia. People’s Artist of the USSR and a Hero of Socialist Labor, winner of numerous state awards, MP and member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, honorary doctor and member of world academies of art, with recognition and fame around the world, Shostakovich is both a living classic of the 20th century, and author of music “formalistic and harmful” and is being criticized, re-educated. He is perceived as a talented “facade” of socialist art, behind which we see both loyal and deeply tragic works and ruthless satires.
The composer achieved early successes with his Symphony No 1, which made him globally famous, with the ballets “The Golden Age” and “Bolt”, the opera “Nose”. After Stalin’s visit to one of the performances of the acclaimed opera “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” (“Katerina Izmailova”), an article titled “Chaos instead of music” was published in the “Pravda” Daily in 1936 . In heated discussions, Dmitry Dmitrievich’s opera and music in general were denounced as “formalistic.” Barely a survivor, Shostakovich forever refused to write operas and turned his creative ideas to symphony, concert and chamber music. Free field for the expression of free thought!