1917 was a year of turbulence – both artistically and politically. It was the penultimate year of World War I, the year of the Russian Revolution, and a year that saw artistic and cultural changes take place. This compilation explores the music inspired by the turbulent times at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Each work tells part of the story of this pivotal year, for example:
Respighi’s Fountains of Rome was premiered in 1917 after Toscanini refused to conduct it the previous year after it had been programmed alongside music by Wagner;
Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin was completed in 1917. Each movement is dedicated to a friend who had been killed in the war;
Satie’s Parade was a true collaboration across creative worlds: sets and costumes by Pablo Picasso, scenario by Jean Cocteau, music by Erik Satie, and danced by the Ballets Russes in 1917;
Shostakovich’s monumental Symphony no.12 “The Year 1917” was written in 1961 in the heart of Communist Russia. It has been suggested that Shostakovich originally wrote a satire of Lenin but due to the potential danger had to recompose the piece at the last minute.
Newly written notes (in English, German and French) by Michael Stegemann, professor of musicology at the University of Dortmund, journalist and former pupil of Oliver Messiaen, explore the stories behind the music.