Freitag, 30. September 2022

Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 13, "Babi Yar" (Conductor: Saulius Sondeckis)

Babi Yar (Russian: Ба́бий Яр) or Babyn Yar (Ukrainian: Бабин Яр) is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and a site of massacres carried out by Nazi Germany's forces during its campaign against the Soviet Union in World War II. The first and best documented of the massacres took place 81 years ago on 29–30 September 1941, killing some 33,771 Jews.

We must never forget the heinous crime against humanity that occurred 81 years ago when nearly 34,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices at Babyn Yar.

This is a recording of Saulius Sondeckis conducting Dmitri Shostakovich´s  Symphony No. 13 ("Babi Yar") from 1994.

In 1961 the then tewenty-nine-year-old Yevgeny Yevtushenko pubished a poem entitled "Babi Yar". This was the name of a ravine on the outskirts of Kiev which in 1941 had been the scene of a mass execution where, within thirty-six hours, 34.000 Jewish men, women and children were shot by a special unit of the German SS. In his poem Yevtushenko used the National Socialists´ act of genocide as the starting-point of an attack on anti-Semitism in general, which he pilloried as a timeless evil that was widespread throughout the world, but which, he implied, was especially rife in Russia.

Shostakovich´s Thirteenth Symphony took a long time to establish itself in the concert hall. The first performance in Moscow on 18 December 1962 was conducted by Kirill Kondrashin and was beset by intrigue until the very last moment; the bass soloist Viktor Nechipaylo, for example, was ordered to report to the Bolshoi on the evening of the concert in order to stand in for an ailing colleague and had to be replaced at the eleventh hour by Vitaly Gromadsky. According to the reports of all the participants, the first-night audience was deeply moved by the work, but the press adopted a hostile tone, directing its fury at Yevtushenko´s words and not at Shostakovich´s generally traditional music. Finally, Yevtushenko saw himself obliged to revise "Babi Yar" and "Fears", a revision that Shostakovich accepted with reluctance. This bowdlerized version was heard a numer of times in 1965/66 and only printed in 1971, in which form the work was later recorded. For the present recording, the original version of Yevtushenko´s words has been restored.

Sergei Baikov, Bass Estonian National Male-Voice Choir St. Petersburg Camerata Saulius Sondeckis, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra


1 Babi Yar 15:43
2 Humour 7:48
3 In the Store 12:21
4 Fears 11:19
5 Career 12:22

Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 13, "Babi Yar" (Conductor: Saulius Sondeckis)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

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