Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: September 25, 1906, St. Petersburg Died: August 9, 1975, Moscow (age 68)

Impromptu, Op. 33

(for viola and piano)
Duration: 3 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1931, May 2 (age 24)
Dedication: Alexander Mikhailovich [Alexander Ryvkin, violist of the Glazunov Quartet]
1 recording, 1 videos
Matthew Lipman, Henry Kramer
From Kai Christiansen

From The Strad

Shostakovich Impromptu A previously unknown work by Dmitri Shostakovich, a viola impromptu, has been discovered in Moscow’s central archive, it was announced on 25 September [2017], the composer’s birthday.

The short work, consisting of title sheet, a single page for the viola part and one for the piano score, is titled Impromptu op.33. It was found among documents belonging to Vadim Borisovsky (d. 1972), the violist of the Beethoven Quartet for over 40 years.

The autograph on the title page, dated 2 May 1931, Leningrad, when Shostakovich was 24, dedicates the work to ‘Alexander Mikhailovich’ – assumed to be Alexander Ryvkin, violist of the Glazunov Quartet. It is dedicated ‘in memory of our meeting’ and this, along with the exact date and peculiarities of the score, as well as the title itself, are seen as conclusive evidence that the work was written spontaneously, in one sitting. A number of relevant authorities confirmed the autograph’s authenticity prior to the announcement.

It is not known how the work passed from Ryvkin to Borisovksy, nor why Shostakovich later recycled the opus number for The Song of the Counterplan, the title music for the 1932 film Counterplan.

It becomes only the second known piece for viola by Shostakovich, along with his final work, the Viola Sonata of 1975 [Shostakovich's final composition], an absolute staple of the instrument’s repertoire.

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Related Composers

Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: July 4, 1883, Vilnius Died: December 6, 1946, Leningrad (age 63)
Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: August 10, 1865, St. Petersburg Died: March 21, 1936, Paris (age 70)
Nikolay Sokolov (1859-1922)
Nationality: Russian
Born: March 26, 1859, St. Petersburg Died: March 27, 1922, Petrograd (age 63)
German Galynin (1922-1966)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: March 30, 1922, Tula Died: July 18, 1966, Moscow (age 44)
Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
Nationality: Polish | Soviet
Born: December 8, 1919, Warsaw Died: February 26, 1996, Moscow (age 76)
Orest Yevlakhov (1912-1973)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: January 17, 1912, Warsaw Died: December 15, 1973, Leningrad (age 61)
Elmira Nazirova (1928-2005)
Nationality: Azerbaijani | Soviet | Israeli
Born: November 30, 1928, Baku Died: 2005, Haifa , Israel (age 76 or 77)
Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: June 17, 1919, Petrograd Died: December 22, 2006, St. Petersburg (age 87)
Boris Tishchenko (1939-2010)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: March 23, 1939, Leningrad Died: December 9, 2010 (age 71)
Boris Klyuzner (1909-1975)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: June 2, 1909, Astrakhan Died: May 21, 1975, Komarovo (age 65)