Even today Dmitri Kabalevsky is regarded by many as a composing minion of the Soviet regime who almost always played an inglorious role in Shostakovich's many conflicts with party authorities. He was one of the most important, most highly gifted, and most frequently performed composers of Soviet Russia, but there is hardly any literature about him in the West. During the many years of the Cold War the unfounded notion that Soviet composers were above all propagandists bent on promoting a communist worldview of Bolshevistic stamp became a firm conviction. Here a little more nuancing would be in order! Our complete recording of Kabalevsky's four symphonies – including the third symphony, the Requiem for Lenin, in a world-premiere! – reveals not a propaganda composer but »a highly expressive romantic musician's soul full of energy« (in the words of our booklet author Christoph Schlüren). Socialist Realism in music – now how does that work? The principal tenet of Kabalevsky's compositional faith may be summed up as follows: »How unfortunate it is that among us, in our conversations about music, such a wonderful term as ›beauty‹ has almost completely been forgotten.«
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