Tone Poem Tuesday

 A very short work today! Less than three minutes, courtesy Soviet composer Dimitri Shostakovich.

In 1943 Shostakovich entered a contest to write a new national anthem for the Soviet Union. Apparently he did not win, but he was able to repurpose his material for that project seventeen years later, for use at a war memorial dedication in the city of Novorossiysk. According to what I have found on this piece, the work Shostakovich presented for the war memorial has been played continuously there ever since. Wow.

The piece is only a few minutes long, starting off quietly before building and building to a fairly thundering climax that isn’t hard to imagine being central to a patriotic tableau of some sort. I’d never heard it before today, but if you has asked me to imagine what a Russian/Soviet “Land of Hope and Glory” tune would sound like, this is what I would have thought of: a slow, stately melody of obvious nationalism that nevertheless broods.

Here is Shostakovich’s Novorossiysk Chimes (Flame of Eternal Glory).


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