Shostokovich: Babi Yar
Dmitri Shostokovich had the frustrating task of being one of the best Composers in Russia during the Soviet era. He regular fell in and out of favour. He had philistine commissars tell him how he should compose.
From Sept 1941 till it was liberated in 1943, between 100,000 and 250,000 were murdered and thrown into the ravine of Babi Yar outside of Kiev.
Today a monument now stands
above Babi Yar,
A memorial to the Thousands of Citizens who died here
because they ran out of Jews.
Here Thousands of Jews (most of the Jews from Kiev and surrounding areas) were massacred along with POWs, Partisans, The Kiev Foootball team, Romani, Soviet Sailors. Russians and Ukrainians.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko memorialized the massacre with a poem in 1961. It was a gutsy move to write such a poem even though it was, in theory a time of the “Krushchev Thaw”. It was just as gutsy for Shostokovich to write a Symphony based on Yevtushenko’s poems.