Unfinished Symphony of 1934 (Fragment Adagio)
The fragment Adagio is apparently the first attempt at composing a new symphony undertaken five years after completion of ‘The First of May’. On 5 November 1934, the composer mentioned ‘a piece of thefirst movement of the Fourth Symphony’ among several works he had begun. At the very end of the year,talking about his desire to concentrate on the Fourth Symphony, he said, “but I have still not gained a senseof its form and ‘technique’. My earlier draft sand out lines do not satisfy me. I will have to start from the beginning.’ In the beginning of April 1935, the composer confirmed: ‘I have discarded all the previous material I had for this composition. I am writing the symphony anew.’
In the final text of the symphony,the first movement, as we know, was Largo, which is not thematically related to this original draft.
The fragment of the score of Adagio kept in the Russian State Archives of Literature and Art (rec. gr. 2048, inv. 1, f. 4) is entitled ‘Symphony No. 4’ and noted as ‘Op. 43’. In the right-hand uppercorner of the first page of this Adagio is the date: ‘24/III’ (it can be read as ‘24/II’ or as ‘24/IV’). We think that this fragment was composed in 1934.
The censored Adagio fragment was first performed and recorded by the Symphony Orchestra of the Soviet Ministry of Culture under the direction of Gennadi Rozhdestvensky in 1986. In 1997, Mstislav Rostropovich conducted this Adagio at the London Symphony Orchestra Festival dedicated to Shostakovichin the Barbican Centre (London).