Only a month earlier, that realization was still a way off. In a letter to his friend, Isaak Glikman, Shostakovich despaired, writing: ‘For the first time in my life, I really do not know what to call one of my compositions. It cannot be called an oratorio, since an oratorio is supposed to have a chorus, and mine doesn’t. It does have soloists though. … It shouldn’t really be called a symphony either.’2 Many subsequent commentators have noted with similar uncertainty that what was eventually entitled Symphony No. 14 might better be described as a song cycle.3 For despite its symphonic title, the Fourteenth is a work in 11 movements, each of which sets a different poem selected from four poets: movements one and two by Garcia Lorca, three to eight by Apollinaire, nine by Küchelbeker and ten and eleven by Rilke. As such, the work is a significant departure from Shostakovich’s previous symphonies, and its timbral and textural simplicity – requiring two soloists, 19 string players and a small selection of (subtle) percussion – also marks a significant move towards chamber music.