Other Minds


Other Minds, Atrium Theater, DENNIS RUSSELL DAVIES & MAKI NAMEKAWA. There are many examples of major symphonies having complicated premieres but none are more intriguing than the purgatory to which Dmitri Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony was sentenced back in 1936. To say his work, when the composer was 30 years old, met with official disapproval is an understatement. The stage was set with the grand success that Shostakovich experienced in 1934 with his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. The work was a proven success until it was denounced by Stalin himself in early 1936. It is generally accepted nowadays that the fear that was implanted in Shostakovich during this episode was the principle reason for the withdrawal of his Fourth Symphony. This kind of grotesquely choreographed dance with the authorities throughout Shostakovich’s life really began with the Pravda condemnation of Lady Macbeth and the charade around the premiere of the Fourth Symphony.

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