Первомайская Шостаковича (Shostakovich’s “First of May”)

This is the fourth (or fifth, depending on conduction and interpretation) movement of Dmitry Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 3, known as the Первомайская (“First of May”).  This movement is the finale, entitled “Первое, в первое мая” (“First, on the first of May”).  It is set to the words of poet Semyon Isaakovich Kirsanov, defending and advancing May Day, revolution, and the resistance of the Russian people.

For me it is reminiscent of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s words, from Humanism and Terror (188): the movement is a reminder that

“the human world is an open or unfinished system….  [T]he same radical contingency which threatens it with discord also rescues it from the inevitability of disorder, and [so] prevents us from despairing of it.”


One Response to “Первомайская Шостаковича (Shostakovich’s “First of May”)”

  1. Partial translation of “ПЕРВОМАЙСКАЯ” Семёна Кирсанова (“The First of May,” by Semyon Kirsanov) | Notes toward an International Libertarian Eco-Socialism Says:

    […] The entirety of the poem’s text can be heard triumphantly sung chorally in the final movement of Dmitriy Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 3 (“Первомайская&#8221…. […]

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