Analysis Of Shostakovich's Song Of The Forests Op. 81

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Shostakovich composed the oratorio Song of the Forests op. 81 after he knew Stalin’s Great Nature Transformation Plan from poet Yevgeny Dolmatovsky (1915-1994) around the spring of 1949 when they were on the Red Arrow train from Moscow to Leningrad. Owing to the fact that they had already had a collaboration in the past, Shostakovich asked Dolmatovsky to write the poems for the oratorio. After Dolmatovsky completed the poems, Shostakovich composed the music for the poems during the summer of 1949, and finished the oratorio on 15 August 1949. The oratorio is for tenor, bass, boys choir, mixed choir, and a symphony orchestra, and consists of seven songs: “When the War Was Over”, “Clothe the Homeland in Forests” ( “The Call Rings throughout …show more content…
The rising gesture of the basic motive x also occurs at the beginning of all the melodies of the songs in the oratorio representing the optimistic atmosphere of the oratorio. For example, in song no. 1, the melody sung by the bass leaps up fifth at the beginning of the melody and leaps up a sixth at the beginning of the melody sung by the choir, and in song no 5, the melody sung by the choir leaps up an octave. Only the melody of song no. 4 does not have a rising gesture, however, the cheerful march-like rhythm compensates for the unavailable rising …show more content…
The extension of the basic motive x occurs in song no. 1 shown in fig. 3 as the top voice, in song no. 6 shown in fig. 4 representing the singing nightingale mentioned in the poem of the song, and in song no. 7 (fig. 5).

Fig. 3: Motive x embedded in the pastoral melody of song no. 1. Fig. 4: The extended version of motive x is played by the English horn in song no. 6.
The first and the fifth scale degrees extend the basic motive x in song no. 7 as shown in fig. 5. In addition, the basic motive x also appears throughout song no. 7 with many different alterations while maintaining the ascending five pitches. The diminution of the basic motive x occurs in song no. 4 rehearsal 52 m. 102 until the end of the song played by the strings where it is written in 16th notes instead of in 8th notes. Fig. 5: Motive x in song no. 7.
The abridged version of motive x appear in song no. 2 played by the strings in mm. 74-77 and mm. 128-129 (fig. 6). Fig. 6: Abridged motive x in song no. 2 mm.

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