Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No.5, Performed by the KBS Symphony Orchestra, Directed by Rumon Gamba

Above, the first symphony I ever really loved, to accompany this book review by Edward Rothstein — What Shostakovich Was Really Expressing. An excerpt:
    Lesser suggests that in his grand public music, Shostakovich kept pretty close to the party line, creating, perhaps, a kind of musical Socialist Realism, cheering and mourning for appropriate state occasions. Indeed, you can hear the Fifth and Seventh Symphonies as reflections of that approach. And yes, too, Shostakovich churned out such works as a cantata, “The Sun Shines Over Our Motherland,” and a choral piece celebrating collective farms.

    The quartets, though, in Lesser’s view, could slide “under the radar.” They were so private in character, she suggests, that Shostakovich could express himself freely in them. String quartets became “his vehicle of self-revelation,” the compositions in which he could most openly reveal himself. They also have an immediate and intimate impact: “The four familial instruments,” Lesser writes, “seem to whisper directly into our ears, communing with us about our own personal sadnesses and ­anxieties.”
Believe it or not, I prefer the Socialist Realism; it may be socialist, but at least it's realist. I have little time for "self-revelation" in art.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.