The Sun Shines over Our Motherland
Originally titled Cantata About the Party, it was commissioned to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the October Revolution. In it, the sun is a metaphor for the achievement of the Soviet people under the leadership of the Communist Party. It begins with a lyrical section for boys' chorus and woodwind, followed by a more energetic section for the men's voices. The finale is a triumphant hymn, climactically very similar to the composer's Twelfth Symphony of nine years later which also commemorated the revolutionary events of 1917.
Performance and Recording History
It was premiered by the USSR Symphony Orchestra and Choir with the Moscow Choir School Boys' Choir under Konstantin Ivanov at the Bolshoi Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire on 6 November 1952. It was recorded in mono with the same forces under Alexander Yurlov after a public concert ten years later. It was re-recorded with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra under Kirill Kondrashin in 1965 for Melodiya Records. In the West, the Kondrashin appeared in an HMV record of 1970, and again in a box of Shostakovich symphonies mainly under the direction of Kondrashin (1975).
More recently, it was recorded by Mikhail Jurowski with the Kölner Rundfunk-Symphonie-Orchester on Capriccio Records, and a live recording of Paavo Järvi with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Estonian Concert Choir on Erato Records.
Because of the nature of the text, it remains a highly controversial work to perform. Paavo Jarvi's performance of the work in 2011 caused outrage amongst many in Estonia, to the point of him receiving death threats.
The original lyrics begin:
- Над Родиной нашей, страной созиданья, солнце сияет. Великие стройки, высотные зданья оно озаряет.
(Transliterated as: Over our homeland, our country of birth, the sun shines. Great buildings and monuments, it illuminates.)
- USSR Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Yurlov (Original recording 1961, Russian Disc 1994)
- Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Kirill Kondrashin (Original recording 1967, Melodiya)
- Kölner Rundfunks-Symphonie-Orchester, Mikhail Jurowski (Capriccio, 1999)
- Shostakovich: Cantatas - Estonian Concert Choir, ENSO Paavo Järvi (Erato 2015)
- Hulme, Derek (1982) Shostakovich Catalogue, Kyle and Glen Music, p. 121-2
- Estonian radio lyrics to version performed by Paavo Jarvi in 2012, with Estonian translation
- Wall Street Journal - May 12 2015 New Shostakovich Recordings Highlight Composer’s Ambiguity "Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi on why he was eager to perform Shostakovich works criticized for their apparent support for Stalin "