Symphony No. 21

N. Miaskovsky
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
16 minutes
Modern classical music
Solo instrument (Piano)
Instrumental parts
Not available

The world premiere of this work took place at the Moscow Festival of Soviet Music on 16 November 1940 with the USSR State SO conducted by A. Gauk. The American premiere was given by the Chicago SO under F. Stock on 26 December 1940 under the title 'Symphonie fantaisie'. Until the end of the 1950s, no one in the USSR dared even mention the work's American connections: it was commissioned by the CSO for its 50th anniversary and dedicated to Stock. The symphony, an eloquent soulful confession cast in a powerfully taut one movement form, could only be conceived and achieved by a composer at the zenith of his craft. For his efforts, Miaskovsky was awarded with the newly established Stalin Prize (First Degree) in 1941. Dubbed by his colleagues as "the musical conscience of Moscow," Miaskovsky was in august company that year as other laureats included his former student Khachaturian (Violin Concerto - which was premiered on the same day as Miaskovsky's Symphony), as well as Shostakovich (Piano Quintet). The Symphony is here transcribed for piano 2 hands by Leonard Turnevicius.

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