2 Comments

  1. Thanks – lovely playing on this.

    It’s interesting to read differing opinions of this symphony. An interesting essay on his works at http://www.kevin-ho.com/Text/archiv_mus_shosta.htm

    “Even under the most oppressive political and social conditions Dmitry Shostakovich managed to preserve his artistic integrity in his music. In maintaining this degree of integrity Shostakovich wrote pieces that required the listeners to delve deeper than the surface to find the ‘meaning’ of the work. His music has a duality to it. Almost incidentally, this phenomenon forged the much-needed link between surface level music and deeper music that confirmed the validity of music as a valid form of expression that Theodor Adorno wrote to. Shostakovich’s music, when heard on a surface level more or less met the criteria of the Soviet State, but on a deeper level his music mocked and ridiculed that same state. Therefore, if his music is listened to in Adorno’s “correct” fashion, sardonic music of despair, desperation and parody is revealed.”

    and:

    “Stalin had demanded a triumphant Ninth Symphony, celebrating him and the Russian defeat of the Nazis, complete with double choir, huge fanfares–the regular propaganda bonanza. (Shostakovich 1979: 106) Stalin, according to Shostakovich had “went off the deep end,” and was completely shocked at the subdued and embittered ironic piece of ‘cheerful’ Symphony which Shostakovich produced. ”

    Some still seem to think this symphony is relatively lighthearted. The You-Tube description seems to think so, and indeed the quotes from the composer there seem to indicate a similar view. I don’t hear it that way, after reading the autobiography of Shostakovich. Maybe it’s just my dark view?

  2. It sounds to me like the sort of lighthearted that a person who is really unable to be lighthearted might write. You know? “This is what lighthearted is,” says the person who has never experienced it.

    Btw, fabulous music making last night on both the S and the B! 🙂