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The Second and Eleventh symphonies are both inspired by Russian revolutions. The Eleventh Symphony, subtitled “The Year 1905” marks the bloody revolution of that year. It is an astonishingly atmospheric symphony, of cinematic breadth, especially in second movement which depicts the Bloody Sunday massacre in St Petersburg. Symphony No 2 was written to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution. At less than 20 minutes, it is a much shorter work than the Eleventh symphony yet no less dramatic. Although dismissed by the composer later in his career as an experiment, it remains an important step in the development of one of the greatest symphonists and both works receive definitive performances from the Mariinsky Orchestra and Chorus.

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