The Tragic Overture by Brahms comments dramatically on the spirit of tragedy in human life. Written at the same time as the jubilant Academic Festival Overture, Brahms famously declared “one weeps, the other laughs”.
Shostakovich was more strongly affected by the vagaries of history and politics than most composers, since he lived in a country where "Big Brother" was constantly watching everyone.
It is thought that Shostakovich began his Symphony No. 10 only a few months after Stalin’s death, a political shift that brought forth a time when the Soviet government stopped bullying.