A little known Shostakovich violin sonata fragment is to be heard for the first time in the UK at a special University of Manchester performance today (19 January).
The hauntingly beautiful six-minute unfinished section - which came to light after the composer died - will be played by violinist Marc Danel from the University’s resident string quartet, the Quatuor Danel.
He will be accompanied by Professor of Music at The University of Manchester David Fanning - a leading authority on Shostakovich, one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated composers.
The only Shostakovich violin sonata known to date is his Opus 134, composed in 1968.
But a second, as yet unpublished sonata was written 23 years earlier in 1945, and part of it formed the basis of the first movement’s third theme in his Tenth Symphony of 1953.
Music scholars typically believe the Tenth, an acknowledged masterpiece, was written as a reaction to the death of Stalin.
But the fragment shows that ideas for the symphony were fermenting long before 1953 – adding more complexity to our understanding of its influences.
Professor Fanning said: “This six-minute fragment breaks off towards the end of what would evidently have been the first movement of a full-length sonata.
“Restrained and lyrical in tone, the music is remarkable for its clear foreshadowing of the first movement of the Tenth Symphony - arguably Shostakovich’s greatest orchestral masterpiece, composed seven years later.”
He added: “Various Shostakovich works have been rediscovered in recent years, following the opening up of Soviet archives in Russia.
“Some of these pieces, like this one, have been known about for some years, but not published or performed.