The famed Russian composer and conductor, Dmitri Shostakovich had a close association with Babi Yar. He wrote his Sympony No.13 in B flat minor, Opus 113, for Babi Yar. It was first performed in Moscow in late 1962 by the Moscow Philharmonic and the Choir of the Gnessin Institute, conducted by Kirill Kondrashin. The regular conductor, Yevgeny Mravinsky, refused to conduct the work of its controversial nature.
In the first part of the symphony, Shostakovich sets Yevtushenko’s poem “Babi Yar” as the theme. Listen to Shostakovich’s work, especially the first movement, and explore its relationship to Yevtushenko’s poem. Explore how the other movements: “Humor,” “In the Store,” “Fears,” and “A Career” all relate to oppression and the need to speak out in times of censorship and oppression.
Work with others to design a performance event, film, or computer generated piece combining the work of Shostakovich and Yevtushenko or other materials found in this section. Research the internet for what other visual and written materials are available to include in your work. Consult “Flickr” and “You Tube” to see how others may have created similar pieces.
Novel by Anatoly Kuznetsov
Anatoly Kuznetsov, a 14-year-old witness to Babi Yar, wrote what he saw in a notebook. He contends in the first page of the book, Babi Yar: A Document in the Form of a Novel: