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Old January 14th, 2013, 11:15 PM   #21

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Ah, Shostakovich. Recently I've been having a re-awakening with him - but less his Gadfly Suite or other gentler renditions, and more with his vicious side.

For instance:
Interpreted beautifully by Oistrach (though check out Maxim Vengerov's too); begins around 2.20 into the video.

More fascinating dischords arise in his 5th symphony (or Symphony No. 5 in D-minor, if you prefer):
Though the Largo is quite melodiously profound, my favourite within the symphony is the 4th movement (Allegro non troppo) - to my ears, very much a presage of Bruckner in quite a few ways.

Then there's also Symphony No. 10, and the Allegro movement there is just captivating. I quite enjoy his Preludes (Op. 34), too, as well as the aforementioned Festive Overture.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 07:55 AM   #22
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There is a good documentary on DSCH "Close Up: Shostakovich" (Katharina Bruner) in six parts:


Another recommendation:

Shostakovich Symphonies (Music Guides): Amazon.co.uk: Hugh Ottaway: Books
Shostakovich Symphonies (Music Guides): Amazon.co.uk: Hugh Ottaway: Books

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Old January 18th, 2013, 04:14 AM   #23
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If anyone else is interested in DSCH, as other composers did (BACH), Shostakovich wrote his name into his music. The signature saves us writing out the full name while most will recognise the composer. He used the initials DSCH from the German transliteration of his name (Dmitri SCHostakovich). In German music notation, the letters spell a four note musical motive, D, E-flat (S), C, B (H).

Useful for music studies; there is a very good resource online, possibly with some of the best music resources on the planet. It also discusses Chamber music: "The centerpiece of earsense is a comprehensive database of chamber music composers, works, events and related media called "chamberbase".

Earsense has 23 works of Shostakovich, listed here: earsense—chamberbase—works
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Old January 18th, 2013, 03:36 PM   #24
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"Testimony" (DSCH Memoirs)


For serious students and those who like a bit of controversy, there are a couple of publications which discuss Dmitry Shostakovich's memoirs;"Testimony" (related to and edited by Solomon Volkov). "Testimony" has been the subject of fierce debate since its publication in 1979. Was Testimony a forgery? These two publications discuss that question and both offer insight in to DSCH, the man.

Shostakovich Reconsidered: Amazon.co.uk: Allan B. Ho, Dmitry Feofanov: Books
Shostakovich Reconsidered: Amazon.co.uk: Allan B. Ho, Dmitry Feofanov: Books

"Here, Allan Ho and Dmitry Feofanov systematically address all of the accusations levelled at Testimony and Solomon Volkov, Shostakovich's amanuensis, amassing an enormous amount of material about Shostakovich and his position in Soviet society and burying forever the picture of Shostakovich as a willing participant in the communist charade. ALLAN B. HO is a musicologist, DMITRY FEOFANOV a lawyer and pianist".

The second publication is a free PDF file, some 300 pages long: "The Shostakovich Wars":
<http://www.siue.edu/~aho/ShostakovichWars/SW.pdf>

Extracts from the Preface: "Dmitry Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906–1975) was born just over a century ago, and for more than a quarter of that time debate has raged over the man, his memoirs, and his music. Rarely has a composer and his music generated so much interest".1

"The spark that ignited the <Shostakovich Wars’> was the posthumous publication in 1979 of Testimony, the composer’s memoirs ‘as related to and edited by Solomon Volkov’. This book revealed a composer strikingly different from his ‘official’ image and explained a number of his key works as veiled protests against Stalin and his regime".

"The rebuttal of Testimony was immediate, first coming from Soviet authorities, who branded the book a forgery that distorted the image of their native son. Since, "the wars" over whether "Testimony" was authentic have raged on".

"Shostakovich Reconsidered (1998; reprinted 2006), the first extended, scholarly examination of the controversy surrounding the Shostakovich memoirs — revealed not only that a wealth of evidence existed to corroborate Testimony, but that this information had been withheld for nearly twenty years by the leading Russian music scholars in the West, such as Fay, Richard Taruskin, and Malcolm Hamrick Brown".

" We anticipate that this book ["The Shostakovich Wars"] will stimulate new discussion of the topic and bring to light additional information on both Shostakovich and Testimony". (Ho and Feofanov, 2011-2012).

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Old January 18th, 2013, 04:58 PM   #25

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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Paul View Post
There is a good documentary on DSCH "Close Up: Shostakovich" (Katharina Bruner) in six parts: Close Up: Shostakovich - part 1 of 6 - YouTube


Another recommendation: Shostakovich Symphonies (Music Guides): Amazon.co.uk: Hugh Ottaway: Books
Thank you for that John Paul, I have found his life and music very interesting. I am so glad I did not have to go down rubbish pub tonight and I was able to enjoy this thread.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 06:07 PM   #26
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You're welcome Crys.
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Old February 14th, 2013, 07:22 PM   #27

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Yes, he's a great symphonist and his orchestra is amazing; also try his piano masterpiece, 24 preludes & fugues!

Shostakovich said no one ever conducted the 5th as well as Leonard Bernstein; he once threw his arms around Bernstein in 1959 after a performance in Leningrad. Bernstein used much faster speed which Shostakovich loved!!! Of course Stalin was dead by this time so he could enjoy it more

This is Lenny conducting the 5th with the London Symphony Orchestra
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Old February 15th, 2013, 02:57 AM   #28
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Shostakovich lived in fairly tough times, artists were told what to create. DSCH's biographical works are living histories, commentaries on his life and dissent from socialist-realism, Stalinism, and events since 1917. Why would a composer write in this way, why dissent from Stalinism and socialist-realism? Why lament Jewish suffering? The traditional privacy of Chamber music was his ideal opportunity for non-verbal dissent. His Piano Trio No.2 op. 67 (1944)-finale, is a great example.

D.Shostakovich-piano trio, op. 67 (1944)-finale. S.Richter,O.Kagan, N.Gutman. - YouTube

Jewish Themes and Shostakovich

Last edited by John Paul; February 15th, 2013 at 03:10 AM.
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Old February 15th, 2013, 10:18 AM   #29

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JP,

Do you have any thoughts or notes on the 8th symphony? I'm rather fascinated by this work. It doesn't appear in concert repertoires very often but is often considered by scholars to be among his finest works. Shostakovich's friend Isaak Glikman called it "his most tragic work". The 3rd movement has been interpreted as a depiction of battle, or as "the crushing of the individual" by the Soviet system.

It was not well received by even some composers and was banned for 8 years in 1948.
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Old February 15th, 2013, 10:19 AM   #30
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I think he is a good composer.
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