Dmitri Shostakovich 


The Symphony No. 14 (Opus 135) by Dmitri Shostakovich was completed in the spring of 1969, and was premiered later that year. It is a sombre work for soprano, bass and a small string orchestra with percussion, consisting of eleven linked settings of poems by four authors. Most of the poems deal with the theme of death, particularly that of unjust or early death. They were set in Russian, although two other versions of the work exist with the texts all back-translated from Russian either into their original languages or into German. The symphony is dedicated to Benjamin Britten (who gave the UK premiere the following year).
The work has eleven linked movements, each a setting of a poem. Adagio. «De profundis» (Federico García Lorca) Allegretto. «Malagueña» (Federico García Lorca) Allegro molto. «Loreley» (Guillaume Apollinaire) Adagio. «Le Suicidé» (Guillaume Apollinaire) Allegretto. «Les Attentives I» (On watch) (Guillaume Apollinaire) Adagio. «Les Attentives II» (Madam, look!) (Guillaume Apollinaire) Adagio. «À la Santé» (Guillaume Apollinaire) Allegro. «Réponse des Cosaques Zaporogues au Sultan de Constantinople» (Guillaume Apollinaire) Andante. «O, Del’vig, Del’vig!» (Wilhelm Küchelbecker) Largo. «Der Tod des Dichters» (Rainer Maria Rilke) Moderato. «Schlußstück» (Rainer Maria Rilke)
Shostakovich Symphony 14 I. De Profundis – Federico Garcia Lorca Those hundred lovers are asleep forever beneath the dry earth. Andalusia has long, red-colored roads. Cordoba, green …
‎De Profundis – Federico Garcia Lorca
Those hundred lovers
are asleep forever
beneath the dry earth.
Andalusia has
long, red-colored roads.
Cordoba, green olive trees
for placing a hundred crosses
to remember them.
Those hundred lovers
are asleep forever.
SHOSTAKOVICH 14th SYMPHONY – Malagueña (Lorca) part-2

moves in and out
of the tavern …
Black horses
and sinister people
traverse the deep paths
of the guitar
The seascape offers a picture of frenzied spikenards smelling of salt
and blood.
moves in and out …
… of the tavern
A Malagueña is a woman living in the Spanish port city of Málaga, on the southern coast of Spain, in the province of Andalusia.
SHOSTAKOVICH 14th SYMPHONY – Loreley (Apollinaire) part-3
Loreley, Apollinaire
 In Bacharach there lived a witch so fair
who caused all the men around to die of love.
The bishop summoned her to his tribunal
and absolved her at once on account of her beauty.
O Loreley fair, whose eyes are made of precious stones, what magician gives you such powers of sorcery?
I am weary of life and my eyes are accursed
men have perished by looking at me, O bishop.
My eyes are not gems but flames,
Commit my sorcery to the fire.
That fire consumes me, fair Loreley.
Let another condemn you, for you have enchanted me.
Bishop, you laugh. Pray rather to the Virgin for me,
let me die and may God protect you.
My lover has left for a distant land,
let me die, for I love nothing.
My heart is so heavy that I must die.
If I looked at myself should surely die.
My heart has been heavy since he departed,
My heart has been so heavy since the day he left.
The bishop summoned three knights with lances.
Take this demented woman to the convent.
Away mad Loreley, away enchantress with eyes atremble,
You shall become a nun, you shall wear black and white.
So the four set off down the road.
The Loreley implored them, her eyes flashed like stars.
Kind knights, let me climb onto that rock so high
that I may see my fine castle one last time.
That I may look at my reflection in the river once more,
then I shall go to the convent of virgins and widows.
Up there her hair blew about in the wind.
The knights cried Loreley, Loreley.
There’s a little boat down there on the Rhine,
and in it stands my lover, he has seen me, he calls.
My heart rejoices, it’s my lover returned.
She leans over and falls into the Rhine.
There in the water was the fair Loreley,
her Rhine-coloured eyes, her sunlit hair.
SHOSTAKOVICH 14th Symphony The Suicide (Apollinaire) part-4
The Suicide, Apollinaire 

Three large lilies, three large lilies on my crossless grave,
three large lilies dusted with gold, tussled by the wind.
Watered only when a dark sky rains ypon them,
majestic and beatutiful as kings’s ceptres.
One springs from my wound and when a ray of light falls upon it
it rears up, bleeding. This is the lily of terror.
Three large lilies, three large lilies on my crossless grave,
three large lilies dusted with gold, tussled by the wind.
The other springs from my heart which lies suffering on this bed,
gnawed by worms. The third springs from my mouth.
All three stand on my remote grave,
Three large lilies, three large lilies on my crossless grave.
quite alone, quite alone and accursed as I, methinks.
SHOSTAKOVICH 14th Symphony (On Watch – Madam, look!) Apollinaire part 5/8

He who must die this evening in the trenches
is a young soldier who, all day long,
idly stares at the concrete battlements
where the night’s trophies are hung.
He who must die this evening in the trenches
is a young soldier, my brother and my lover.
And since he must die I want to make myself beautiful,
I want my naked breasts to light the torches,
I want my eyes to melt the frozen pool.
And I want my hips to be tomps.
For, since he must die, I want to make myself beautifyl
in incest and death, those wondrous gestures.
The sunset cows are lowing their roses,
the bluebird’s wing brushes me lightly.
It is the hour of Love, a passionate neuroses.
It is the hour of Death and of the final vow.
He who must perish as surely as the roses die
is a young soldier, my brother and my lover.

Madame, look!
You ‘ve lost something.
It’s my heart-that’s all!
So pick it up.
I have given it, and I have taken it back.
It was there in the trenches.
Now it’s here and I’m laughing, laughing
at the love affairs scythed down by death.
SHOSTAKOVICH 14th Symphony In the Santé jail (Apollinaire) part 6/8
Before entering my cell
I had to strip naked.
And a sinister voice howls
Guillaume,what has become of you?
Farewell, farewell, round song,
bygone years, young girls!
Lazarus entering the tomb
instead of emerging from it as he did.
No, I don’t feel
I’m me here!
I’m number 15
in section 11.
In a pit like a bear,
I walk each morning,
round and round and round again.
The sky is as blue as a chain.
In a pit like a bear,
I walk each morning.
What will become of me, O Lord, who knows my grief, who inflicted it upon me?
Have pity on my tearless eyes, my wan face.
And on all the poor hearts beating in this prison.
Love, my companion
have pity especially on my frail reason,
and on the despair that encroaches upon it.
The day comes to a close, a lamp
burns within the prison.
We are alone in my cell,
beauteous light, dear reason.
SHOSTAKOVICH 14th Sym-Reply of the Zaporozhye cossacks-O Delvig, Delvig! part 7/8

More a criminal than Barabbas,
horned like a fallen angel,
what Beelzebub are you
who gorge yourself down there on fifth and mire?
We shall not attend your sabbaths.
Rotten fish of Salonica,
a long necklace of fearful dreams,
of eyes poked out with sticks.
Your mother farted timourously
and gave birth to you in her colic.
Butcher of Podolia, lover
of wounds, of ulcers, of scabs.
Pig’s snout, mare’s arse.
Keep all your riches
to pay for your medicines.
O DELVIG, DELVIG! (Küchelbecker)

O Delvig, Delvig! What is the recompense
for my deeds, for my poetry?
What comfort, what joy is there in being talented
amongst thieves and fools?
In Juvenal’s hands the scourge
puts the rogues to flight
and robs their cheeks of colour.
The tyrants’ sway began to falter.
O Delvig, Delvig! Of what use is persecution?
Immortality is the reward
for sublime and courageous deeds,
the recompense for sweet singing!
Thus will our alliance last forever,
proud, joyful and free!
Through sorrow and joy
the friends of the eternal muse will remain united.
SHOSTAKOVICH 14th Symphony Death of the Poet-Conclusion (Rilke) part 8/8

There he lay. His face, propped up against the pillows
had looked pale and defiant
since the world and knowledge of it,
torn from his senses,
reverted to the indifferent year.
Those who saw him living did not know
how much he was one with all this;
for these depths, these meadows,
these waters, these were his face.
Oh, his face was this very distance
that now tries to approach him, to court him,
and this mask that now dies away in fear
is tender and open as the inside
of a fruit rotting in the air.

Death is great.
We belong to him,
we whose mouths laugh.
When we believe ourselves to be within life’s care,
he dares to cry
within us.
Shostakovich: Symphony No.14 – Gergiev/MTO(2010Live)
• Shostakovich wanted to address death directly. Was in somewhat of a long-term depression (63 years old).
• All of the poets died an unnaturally early death, and Kuchel’beker’s poem is about a Russian poet Del’vig who died early as well.
• He specifically rejects the quasi-religious view of death as a beginning, as liberation, and treats it as an unalloyed negative, dark and pessimistic. (Solzhenitsyn in particular criticized him).
• Very little`publicistic ’about it, as in13th symphony.
• Prototypes:
– Songs and dances of death of Musorgskij – Song of the Earth by Mahler.
• Influences:
– War Requiem (1962) by Benjamin Britten
– Paroles tissees (1965) by Lutoslawski (very similar orchestration)
– Dies irae (1967) Penderecki
– Requiem Canticles (1967) Stravinsky




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