Over 45 years separate the composition of Shostakovich's first and final symphonies and yet both exude the same creativity and dark wit for which the great composer came to be known. The First Symphony owes much to the influence of the composer's Russian predecessors including Tchaikovsky and Scriabin. However, it also reflects contemporary artistic life and the optimism of the early years in the Soviet Union. By contrast the final symphony is a much more bitter work, which draws on many of the themes that recur throughout Shostakovich's career, yet never resorts to melodrama.
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