By Michael Mishra
Adopting a two-books-in-one layout. 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 ideas is utilized to chose Shostakovich works and genres. this is often the 1st entire English-language ebook in twenty-five years during which the first emphasis is on musical matters, 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 options which were utilized to Shostakovich's song, in addition to some of the controversies surrounding his existence and his dating to Soviet politics. half II contains the book's imperative life-and-works dialogue, uniting a complete exam of Shostakovich's compositional evolution with an entire account of his lifestyles. Coming from quite a few authors, the chapters partially III show a cross-section of analytical innovations that can usefully be dropped at undergo upon Shostakovich's tune. those variety from literary and cinematically-based easy methods to the extra conventional kinds of musical research. half IV considers 3 self reliant yet the most 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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The issues of personal character and musical interpretation affect our percep tion, or "reception," of Shostakovich and his music, and the remainder of this chapter will be devoted to these matters. The debate over Testimony's authenticity is an altogether separate matter, and its resolution, should there ever be one, should not at this point materially affect our view of Shostakovich. Chapter 3 con tains a brief history of this debate. Shostakovich the Man: Dissent, Compromise, and Guilt For Shostakovich, or indeed for anyone occupying a prominent cultural posi tion in the Soviet Union, ghostwritten speeches and coerced signatures were a fact of life.
It's like a body in search of a soul. That hasn't changed. It's just that now we know a little more about what was- on the composer's mind. . Anything a composer says about what was on his or her mind at the time is only a partial representation of the truth. And the truth comes out in performance and is untranslatable. 1 1 4 The discovery of quotations and codes enriches our understanding of the Tenth Symphony. Or at least, it enriches our understanding of Shostakovich, for we can not definitively assert that a composer's thoughts at the time of composition, whether simple or complex, necessarily equate either in part or in full to the "meaning" of the composition that subsequently emerges.
But as that indignant district Party secretary perhaps realized, Shostakovich used the Party for his own ends, usually altruistic, as they used him for theirs. A combination of musical authority, international renown, a sense of civic duty that was absolutely genuine, and a loyalty to the Party that was probably not, had made him all but indispensable to both Party and dissenter alike. Characterizing Shostakovich's "Enemies" One of Shostakovich's favorite stories was of an incident that occurred at his dacha shortly after the 1 948 Resolution against formalism.