Dmitry Shostakovich´s eleventh symphony in G minor op. 103 titled “The Year 1905” was composed in the years 1956 and 1957. In the article “ Reflecting on the course of my life” (published in Sovetskaja muzyka 9/1956) the composer wrote this about the work “At the moment I’m working on the eleventh symphony which will be finished this winter. The theme for the symphony is the Revolution of 1905. I feel personally very close to this period in the history of our country. It is one that is strongly echoed in workers songs. I don’t know if I’ll extensively quote them in the symphony but, of course, it will be closely related to the musical language of Russian revolutionary songs.
On the 9th of January 1905 troops, following the orders of Tsar Nicholas, fired on 100,000 unarmed demonstrating workers, women and children, killing thousands. Abroad this day became known as “Bloody Sunday”. There followed plundering and unrest. This fateful scenario colours the four movements of the symphony which carry the following programmatic titles: 1st Movement, Palace Square – 2nd Movement, January the 9th – 3rd Movement, In Memoriam – 4th Movement The Toscin.