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The fateful Pravda article ‘Muddle Instead of Music’ appeared in January 1936, in which Shostakovich was directly attacked for his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, at which point the composer had completed about half of his Symphony No. 4. Although the new score already demonstrated the particularly criticised characteristics such as intellectualism, remoteness from the people, incomprehensibility and the like, Shostakovich continued to write his Fourth undeterred. However, a few days before the planned premiere in December 1936, Shostakovich decided to withdrew the new work and thus narrowly avoided an official ban. It was not until 1961 that Symphony No. 4 was finally premiered in Moscow under the direction of Kirill Kondrashin.

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