Classical 91.5

Shostakovich's Sly Protests

Sep 25, 2017

National Anthem singer Rico Lavelle ended his performance at a Lions-Falcons game by kneeling.
Credit Video image from

You may be troubled by images of athletes and musicians in silent protest. 

Two singers knelt after singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at separate NFL games on Sunday.  Even many non-football fans are transfixed by the public debate over free speech in sports arenas.  (If you've missed the controversy, catch up here.)

Thanks to the First Amendment, Americans needn't worry that their opinions will spark a visit from the secret police.

I have to believe that Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich envied our country's Bill of Rights.  He was threatened with imprisonment or death if he didn't use his music in service to the dictator Joseph Stalin and his Kremlin operatives.

This 1997 documentary explores ways in which Shostakovich forged his Fourth to Ninth Symphony as a sly protest against the crimes of Stalin.