By Michael Mishra
Adopting a two-books-in-one structure. The Shostakovich Companion combines a full-length, single-author exam of the existence and compositional evolution of the Soviet Union's most renowned composer; and a symposium during which various analytical suggestions is utilized to chose Shostakovich works and genres. this can be the 1st complete English-language publication in twenty-five years within which the first emphasis is on musical concerns, and the secondary emphasis is at the biographical and much-debated political issues.
The The Shostakovich Companion is split into 4 elements. half I considers the hermeneutic recommendations which have been utilized to Shostakovich's tune, in addition to a few of the controversies surrounding his lifestyles and his courting to Soviet politics. half II includes the book's principal life-and-works dialogue, uniting a accomplished exam of Shostakovich's compositional evolution with a whole account of his existence. Coming from various authors, the chapters partially III reveal a cross-section of analytical thoughts that could usefully be dropped at endure upon Shostakovich's track. those variety from literary and cinematically-based the right way to the extra conventional kinds of musical research. half IV considers 3 self reliant yet an important facets of Shostakovich's lifestyles: his contributions to the Soviet movie undefined, his profession as a pianist, and his legacy and effect as a teacher.
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Additional resources for A Shostakovich Companion
He sat there like a puppet, his thoughts wandering far away, applauding when the others applauded. Once I remember him clapping eagerly afrer Khrennikov had made a speech in which he had made some offensive remarks about Shostakovich. "Why did you clap when you were being criticized," I asked. He hadn't even noticed! 6 1 13 14 A Shostakovich Companion It is instructive here to cite Ian MacDonald who invokes the writings of the Pol ish poet Czeslaw Milosz, who speaks of ketman: a form of pretence resorted to by anyone who, while harbouring thoughts of his own, wishes nevertheless to remain alive .
Not only did "Babi Yar" contain Shosta kovich's first open attack against Soviet anti-Semitism-previous . works like the song cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry had dealt with the topic implicitly rather than explicitly-it was also the first publicly aired work of Shostakovich in which his indictment of the Soviet system was not woven into some complex, semantically multilayered web. Where in previous works, Shostakovich had called upon trag edies or struggles of the distant past to hint obliquely at present-day problems even the Thirteenth Symphony's fourth movement, "Fears," opens with the line "Fears no longer exist in Russia''-"Babi Yar" would force its Soviet audience to come to terms with a specific act of evil that had taken place within its lifetime, on its soil.
For example, as Volkov points out, Stalin's renaming of the Moscow An Theater as the Gorky An Theater was once questioned by an official who pointed out that it was really Chekhov's rather · than Gorky's theater. Stalin himself even preferred Chekhov to Gorky; but understood that as the nominal godfather of Socialist Realism, Gorky carried the greater political weight. 84 With his political instincts overruling his personal preferences (an ironic case perhaps of Stalin becoming a pawn in his own system) , the extent of Stalin's "philistinism'' is, like Khubov's, almost impossible to gauge.