The complete symphonic works of Shostakovich and Prokofiev include some of the most fascinating and intoxicating Russian compositions of the 20th century. These works reflect the political influences of the Stalinist era. Prokofiev’s symphonies range from his first, the ‘Classical’ Symphony which uses a small orchestra that Haydn would have been familiar with, to the highly-charged and dramatic later symphonies composed for much larger orchestras. While Prokofiev spent many years abroad where he could compose without political restraints, Shostakovich had to tailor his compositional language according to the dictates of the Soviet political regime. Despite critique, Shostakovich developed an enigmatic, very personal style which remains as powerful, inspiring and elusive today as when his music was written.
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