Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Kay, Norman. "Shostakovich's 15th Symphony." Tempo, no. 100 (Spring 1972): 36-40.

Shostakovich achieves his life-long goal of writing a truly classical symphonic allegro in his Fifteenth Symphony. The work as a whole is characterized by economy: a quotation from Rossini's William Tell Overture forms the basis for all motives in the first movement. It is significant that Shostakovich chooses a model far removed from Viennese classicism from which to build this movement. The second movement quotes twice from the Eleventh Symphony, and the third introduces the infamous D-S-C-H motive. The final movement quotes Wagner's "Fate Motive" from Der Ring des Nibelungen as well as the rhythm of Siegfried's "Funeral March" from Gotterdämmerung. The quotation of the "Fate Motive" may be a back-handed comment on "poster-coloured" optimism, but becomes more personal when juxtaposed with the D-S-C-H motive. This progression from the Rossinian light-heartedness of the first movement to the gravity of the last exemplifies Shostakovich's affinity for tragedy.

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Randal Tucker

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