The Sun Shines over Our Motherland

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The Sun Shines over Our Motherland «Над Родиной нашей солнце сияет» (Op.90) is a Russian-language cantata written in 1952 by Dimitri Shostakovich on a libretto by Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky.

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[edit]

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).[1]

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.[2]


The original lyrics begin:

Над Родиной нашей, страной созиданья, солнце сияет. Великие стройки, высотные зданья оно озаряет.[3]

(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)[4][5]


External links[edit]