Tag Archives: Aaron Copland

Shostakovich, symphony no. 11 (“The Year 1905”); Шостакович, Симфония № 11 («1905-й год»)

 

 

 

Posted here (above) is a recording of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Opus 103 (subtitled The Year 1905), conducted by Leopold Stokowski.

It is a marvelous symphony. Extremely moving. Program music that works and is entirely compelling from beginning to end. A powerful work. Like practically all — if not all — of Shostakovich’s works, it is very “Russian.” Meaning, could it have been composed anywhere else? Belong to any other musical tradition? In this respect, Shostakovich reminds me (as I have remarked elsewhere) of Aaron Copland.

I first heard the work when I was in college. My uncle Roger Handy gave me an LP of the world premiere recording (by Andre Clutyens) as a Christmas gift.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   July 2018

 

 

*****************************************************

 

From a Wikipedia entry:

 

Symphony No. 11 in G minor (Opus 103; subtitled The Year 1905) by Dmitri Shostakovich was written in 1957 and premiered, by the USSR Symphony Orchestra under Natan Rakhlin, on 30 October 1957. The subtitle of the symphony refers to the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905. The first performance given outside the Soviet Union took place in London’s Royal Festival Hall on 22 January 1958 when Sir Malcolm Sargent conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The US Premiere was given by Leopold Stokowski and the Houston Symphony Orchestra on 7 April 1958.

The symphony was conceived as a popular piece and proved an instant success in Russia — his greatest, in fact, since the Leningrad Symphony fifteen years earlier. The work’s popular success, as well as its earning him a Lenin Prize in April 1958, marked the composer’s formal rehabilitation from the Zhdanov Doctrine of 1948.

A month after the composer had received the Lenin Prize, a Central Committee resolution “correcting the errors” of the 1948 decree restored all those affected by it to official favor, blaming their treatment on “J. V. Stalin’s subjective attitude to certain works of art and the very adverse influence exercised on Stalin by Molotov, Malenkov and Beria.”

The symphony is scored for 3 flutes (3rd doubling piccolo), 3 oboes (3rd doubling cor anglais), 3 clarinets (3rd doubling bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (3rd doubling contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle, snare drum, cymbals, orchestral bass drum, tam-tam, xylophone, tubular bells, 2 harps (preferably doubled), celesta and strings. [Typical of Shoskakovich’s supreme gift for orchestral color.]

The symphony has four movements played without break, and lasts approximately one hour.

1. Adagio (The Palace Square)

The first movement is cold, quiet, and somewhat menacing, with transparent strings and distant though ominous timpani motifs. This is underscored with brass calls, also as though from a great distance.

2. Allegro (The 9th of January)

The second movement, referring to the events of the Bloody Sunday, consists of two major sections. The first section probably depicts the petitioners of 22 January 1905 [O.S. 9 January], in the city of Saint Petersburg, in which crowds descended on the Winter Palace to complain about the government’s increased inefficiency, corruption, and harsh ways. This first section is busy and constantly moves forward. It builds to two steep climaxes, then recedes into a deep, frozen calm in the prolonged piccolo and flute melodies, underscored again with distant brass.

Another full orchestra build-up launches into a pounding march, in a burst from the snare drum like gunfire and fugal strings, as the troops descend on the crowd. This breaks out into an intense section of relentless strings, and trombone and tuba glissandos procure a nauseating sound underneath the panic and the troops’ advance on the crowd. Then comes a section of mechanical, heavily repetitive snare drum, bass drum, timpani, and tam-tam solo before the entire percussion sections breaks off at once. Numbness sets in with a section reminiscent of the first movement.

3. Adagio (Eternal Memory)

The third movement is a lament on the violence, based on the revolutionary funeral march “You Fell as Victims”. Toward the end, there is one more outbreak, where material from the second movement is represented.

4. Allegro non troppo (Tocsin)

The finale begins with a march, (again repeating material from the climax of the second movement), which reaches a violent climax, followed by a return to the quietness of the opening of the symphony, introducing a haunting cor anglais melody. After the extended solo, the bass clarinet returns to the earlier violence, and the orchestra launches into a march once again. The march builds to a climax with snare drum and chimes in which the tocsin (alarm bell or warning bell) rings out in a resilient G minor, while the orchestra insists a G major. In the end, neither party wins, as the last full orchestra measure is a sustained G natural, anticipating the future events of 1917.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._11_(Shostakovich)

thoughts about Charles Ives (and Copland, Barber, and Gershwin) … plus thoughts about making lists of favorites (and making such judgments in general)

 

 

On Sunday, February 25, I attended a performance of Charles Ives’s Symphony No. 2 by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

The program notes for the concert read as follows:

Charles Ives is widely recognized as the first authentically American composer. The supreme collagist in music, Ives is perhaps most appropriately described by piling on words the way he piles on tunes. Composer Lou Harrison, rejoicing in Ives’s “bewildering munificence,” has written: “There is very nearly something for everyone in Ives — rousing band marches for the athletic extrovert, sweet prayers for the pious, amazing constructs for the intellectual … big-sized pieces, minute works, vulgar ones, polite ones, serious, funny, bland, tortuous, affectionate, and business­like ones, ones for the many, ones for the few, and some in between, and so on, and whatnot else … Plainly he was a man who loved many things much.”

Ives’s multiplicity is evident in every aspect of his life and art. An insurance man who composed at night, Ives was almost totally isolated from the musical establishment. He was a passionate nationalist who based his music on traditional American tunes and his metaphysics on Emersonian transcendentalism. Yet, with the help of his father (a small-town bandleader), he inaugurated the most daring kinds of polyrhythmic, polytonal, and aleatory effects. Indeed, his international significance stretches beyond music. As poet and short-story writer Guy Davenport puts it, “Ives aligns with the most significant art of this time: with Pound and Eliot in the reuse of extant compositions, with Joyce in the hermetic diffusion of symbolism throughout a work, with Picasso in exploring the possibilities of extending forms and techniques.”

Like Joyce, Ives aspires to the abstract and the visionary, yet is rooted in the homely and the everyday. Pierre Boulez pointed out that Ives is distinct from other musical innovators in that “the origin of his music, of his invention, is to be found in the surroundings of his life” rather than in a symphonic tradition. Prior to Ives, there was no American tradition in symphonic music; there was nothing to extend or rebel against — only a pallid recycling of European Romanticism. (Even the New Orleans syncopations of Louis Moreau Gottschalk were more popular in Europe than America.) For his inspiration, Ives went directly to the hymns, popular tunes, and band marches from his boyhood in Danbury, Connecticut, transforming these simple sources into a complex mélange.

Ives once called his most ambitious works “ear­stretchers,” and given the stretch that is required, it is not surprising that he has always incited controversy and bewilderment. Many of his most visionary works had to wait half a century for a performance because musicians hadn’t the slightest idea what to make of them.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

A few phrases leaped out at me: “the first authentically American composer”; “a passionate nationalist who based his music on traditional American tunes and his metaphysics on Emersonian transcendentalism”; “Ives aspires to the abstract and the visionary, yet is rooted in the homely and the everyday”; “the origin of his music, of his invention, is to be found in the surroundings of his life.”

Another daring innovator, a visionary poet, whom these words call to mind is Walt Whitman. I feel that Ives, an American original, is much like Whitman (who, by the way, was also influenced, deeply, by transcendentalism).

I am less inclined — this is probably a shortcoming on my part in comprehension — to think of Ives (as does Guy Davenport) in connection with Joyce, Eliot, and Pound, let alone Picasso.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

Another quintessentially American composer — by which I mean not only an American native but also a composer of works unmistakably American — is, of course, Aaron Copland. I regard Copland as the greatest American composer. Copland was an early champion of Ives’s music. If for no other reason, I would say that Copland outranks Ives because the latter’s output was comparatively meager.

The greatest single WORK by an American composer? I will take a stab at answering the question and say Porgy and Bess.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

A DIGRESSION

 

I had a lively exchange with a follower of this blog recently. He wrote as follows:

How do you rank classical composers?

Yes, some are timeless — Mozart, Beethoven, Bach — but how would you rank Nielsen vs. Sibelius, Copland vs. Chopin, Brahms vs. Roger Sessions? Or even Bach vs. Mozart or Beethoven?

And why bother? What one likes is important. I’ve always objected to someone who says this author or this composer is overrated, etc. Compared to what, and why? And overrated by whom?

 

 

*****************************************************

 

I answered as follows:

My answer would be yes and no.

I generally don’t like ratings and usually disagree with them (what are the 10 greatest American films?).

But to say someone is overrated (I might say, for example, Hemingway, but I know there would be lots of disagreement) or underrated (e.g., Haydn, in my opinion) is entirely valid; people often make such judgments — it’s a matter of making comparisons.

What’s wrong with that? One is always enjoying works of art for their own sake and, at the same time, engaging in armchair criticism.

So, I recently heard a piece of Max Bruch’s in concert and was pleasantly surprised; he reminded me of Brahms. But I am not prepared to say that he outranks Brahms.

I am always compiling inventories and laundry lists in my mind; it’s a good way mentally to keep track of writers, composers, etc. and their works. I FEEL THAT THIS IS KEY.

So, I get into Carl Nielsen, and think: how does he compare to Sibelius? People are still arguing about Tolstoy vs. Dostoevsky.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

to which the follower of my blog replied:

I am not saying you shouldn’t rate composers yourself, or authors, or whatever. And I enjoy discussions such as Chopin vs. Schubert.

I’m just saying that when you say that someone is overrated, I say by whom? If you are saying that you believe that x is better than y, or more interesting than y, that’s fine. If you’re ranking your opinion of Nielsen vs. Sibelius, that I understand.

But if you’re saying that the world knows that one is better than the other (either way), I say on what authority is this statement made?

That’s my only point here. And maybe that people waste their time arguing things like Tolstoy vs. Dostoevsky. They were both great writers and I don’t give a damn if someone thinks that one is marginally better than the other.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

Our email exchange ended there. But, I think it does make a great deal of difference whom one thinks is better: Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. We are usually not talking about marginal differences — some people actually like one and dislike the other. I know of lovers of Tolstoy’s works who can’t bring themselves to read Dostoevsky.

The point is that such comparisons can be trivial or frivolous, but not necessarily so. There is an inner critic in the brains of aesthetes. So that, experiencing a work of art — literature or music, in this case — they are not only “submitting” to it, allowing themselves to enjoy and be edified by the work, they are also asking themselves what they think of it. This is a good thing. And, by applying one’s own standards, which, needless to say, are subjective, one is making a mental inventory for future reference. So, for example — as a person immersed in literature and music — I have developed a mental map to help orient myself. I have my likes and dislikes. And, I make comparisons: Bruch reminds me of Brahms, Schumann as well. (Whitman reminds me of no one else!) I think that Thomas Wolfe is far superior to Theodore Dreiser. And, so on.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

I have posted here (below) some of my favorite pieces by composers whom I regard as quintessentially American.

 

 

three songs by CHARLES IVES

 

 

Charles Ives, “A Christmas Carol”

 

 

 

Charles Ives, “Memories”

 

 

 

Charles Ives, “In the Mornin’ (Give me Jesus)”

 

 

 

CHARLES IVES

“The Circus Band” (sung by Sara Dell’Omo, soprano)

 

 

 

CHARLES IVES

string quartet no. 1

 

 

 

AARON COPLAND

from The Tender Land (opera)

The opening bars are posted here.

 

 

 

 

AARON COPLAND

“Morning on the Ranch” (from the Red Pony Suite)

 

 

 

AARON COPLAND

“Letter from Home”

 

 

 

AARON COPLAND

“Quiet City”

 

 

 

SAMUEL BARBER

Adagio for Strings

 

 

 

SAMUEL BARBER

Knoxville, Summer 1915

 

 

 

 

PORGY AND BESS

Also posted here is a recording of the film score of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. For a long time, the LP was out of print. In my opinion, the soundtrack album is outstanding for its arrangements and orchestration.

 

 

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   February 2018

lament for The Common Man

 

 

 

 

“We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. … Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.” — Hillary Clinton, speech delivered on September 9, 2016 in Tampa, FL at an LGBT fundraiser

 

 

*****************************************************

 

Feelings, concern, sympathy for the “great unwashed,” aka “deplorables”? For the Common Man? Fuhgeddaboudit.

The Common Man has not been venerated since the Great Depression induced writers such as John Steinbeck and composers such as Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson to pen and compose songs of praise.

The Common Man is not in fashion any more. In fact, he has become an embarrassment to those who consider themselves enlightened and superior in views and taste, except among Trump supporters.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   September 2017

Shostakovich (Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович)

 

русский перевод см ниже



The following is an email of mine to a friend which resulted from a conversation we were having yesterday.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

  February 3, 2017

 

 

*********************************************

 

 

You asked me yesterday if I liked Shostakovich.

The answer: do I ever!

He’s a quintessentially nationalistic composer. He wrote quite a bit of music with overt programmatic, thematic, or patriotic content. He also wrote much music that is very modern and very twentieth century — worthy of (and, in fact, better than, in my opinion) a Stravinsky.

It is hard to pigeonhole Shostakovich. A Wikipedia article

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Shostakovich

states:

A polystylist, Shostakovich developed a hybrid voice, combining a variety of different musical techniques into his works. His music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality; the composer was also heavily influenced by the neo-classical style pioneered by Igor Stravinsky, and (especially in his symphonies) by the post-Romanticism associated with Gustav Mahler. [Mahler was indeed a great influence on Shostakovich, and it has been said that one can hear echoes of the former composer’s works in the symphonies of the latter.]

I am not a musicologist, so I can speak only from experience as a listener, for the most part. But, I once said to my former therapist, who had an interest in Russian history and culture, that I believed Shostakovich to be one of the twentieth century’s greatest (if not the greatest) composers. A rival? I might suggest Bartók. I bet few others would make that choice.

Shostakovich reminds me of Aaron Copland. I feel that the two are comparable, except that I feel Shostakovich is the greater composer (which is not to detract from my admiration for Copland, whose works I do not know as well as I should).

Both he and Copland are infused with their country’s spirit, land, and grandeur. Both were prolific and composed in a wide variety of forms on the macro and micro levels, so to speak. Both composed supremely patriotic and nationalistic music which, when you hear it, results in your thinking, saying: it is so Russian or so American; it could only be Russian or American.

Both were not afraid to attempt grand themes — the Russian Revolution and The Great Patriotic War; Appalachia, the heartlands, Lincoln, the Great Depression, democracy — yet both composed highly cerebral, small scale works (e.g., their chamber works).

Nationalism and patriotism notwithstanding, both were fully in touch with the musical trends and styles of their times. Their music is anything but hackneyed, clichéd, or retrograde.

Neither composer was a political stooge or apologist. Shostakovich ran afoul of Stalinism and lived in fear of reprisal, it has been stated in books about him. (His music was criticized by Stalin himself.) Copland had leftist and Zionist sympathies.

 

 

***********************************************

 

 

A word or two about my own experience of Shostakovich.

My parents gave me a portable record player as a gift upon my high school graduation. One of the first LP’s I purchased was a budget recording of Shostakovich’s fifth symphony conducted by Ernest Ansermet.

I was greatly impressed and stirred by the work, which I (by no means alone) regard as a masterpiece and one of the greatest symphonies ever. It is work which, in my opinion, is infused with the “Russian spirit,” whatever that means. It is haunting and powerful and has a sort of inner logic and sense of inevitability, a coherence, and a tightness of construction that remind me of Beethoven’s Fifth.

Another work of Shostakovich’s that I discovered early was his eleventh symphony (“The Year 1905”; 1957). The social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin, a Russian emigre who taught at Harvard, mentioned it in passing in his autobiography. Being an admirer of Sorokin, I had to hear the work. My uncle Roger Handy gave it to me as a Christmas present on an LP of a performance by André Cluytens. It was one of the first performances of the symphony; recordings of Shostakovich’s eleventh were rare then. The eleventh symphony is subtitled “The Year 1905”; it describes, musically, events of the Russian Revolution of 1905. It is extremely powerful and lyrical.

One notices here Shostakovich’s mastery of tone color, which sets him apart — in a class of his own, it would seem. A Wikipedia article notes that the eleventh symphony is scored for 3 flutes (3rd doubling piccolo), 3 oboes (3rd doubling cor anglais), 3 clarinets (3rd doubling bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (3rd doubling contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle, snare drum, cymbals, orchestral bass drum, tam-tam, xylophone, tubular bells, 2 harps, celesta and strings. Similar eerie, powerful effects are accomplished in the composer’s fifteenth symphony, which includes a glockenspiel, celesta, vibraphone, castanets, snare drum, wood block, xylophone, and triangle.

One can also observe such mastery of tone color in, say, the fifth symphony. And, Shostakovich will often surprise, delight, or astonish the listener with original scoring, such as the piano passages in his first symphony and his fifth.

Eventually, I discovered Shostakovich’s quartets, which I feel are right up there with Bartók’s. Shostakovich wrote fifteen symphonies and fifteen quartets. I haven’t even mentioned his concertos. He was prolific!

An observation I would make about Shostakovich — being mindful that I am no doubt stating the obvious and that one doesn’t need my input to realize this – is that he is usually very original from one work to the next. One never knows what to expect or what one is going to hear. His fourth symphony, for example, was a complete break with his second and third symphonies, which were nothing like his brilliant first symphony, which was wholly fresh and original and which seemed to almost come out of nowhere; it did not seem to be indebted to a tutor or predecessor. His seventh, eighth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth symphonies have similarities, but the fourth, fifth, sixth, ninth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth symphonies are totally different, and each of them differs a lot from one of the others in that group. Similar astonishing variety of form and mood from one piece to the next can be seen in the quartets.

I should have also mentioned, individually, Shostakovich’s eighth symphony. It is a powerful work and one of his best. It doesn’t seem to be performed as often as it should. Don’t listen to it if you don’t feel like experiencing anguish — it is a work that conveys despair. There is very little sunlight; Vivaldi it is not.

 

 

***********************************************

 

See also:

 

Posted on this blog are:

 

 

Shostakovich, symphony no. 11 (“The Year 1905”)

https://rogersgleanings.com/2016/01/21/shostakovich-symphony-no-11-the-year-1905/

 

Shostakovich, “Песнь о лесах” (The Song of the Forests), op. 81 (1949)

https://rogersgleanings.com/2016/01/22/shostakovich-song-of-the-forests-1949/

 

 

 

***********************************************

 

 

Ниже изложен текст моего электронного письма другу, которое было написано после нашего вчерашнего разговора.

 

— Роджер У. Смит

    3 февраля 2017 г.

 

 

*********************************************

 

 

Вчера Вы спросили, понравился ли мне Шостакович.

Ответ: безусловно!

Это композитор с ярко выраженными национальными особенностями. Он написал довольно много музыки с четким программным, тематическим или патриотическим содержанием. Он также написал значительное количество современных музыкальных произведений, отражающих дух двадцатого века, его творчество не уступает творчеству Стравинского (а, по моему мнению, даже превосходит).

Шостакович и сегодня интересен слушателям. В Википедии в статье

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Shostakovich

говорится следующее:

В своих произведениях Шостакович использует уникальный стиль, в котором сочетаются различные музыкальные техники. Его музыка характеризуется резкими контрастами, элементами гротеска, амбивалентной тональностью; на его творчество сильно повлиял неоклассицизм, пионером которого был Игорь Стравинский, а также постромантизм (особенно в симфониях), с которым ассоциируется творчество Густава Малера. [Малер действительно оказал на него огромное влияние; говорят, что отголоски произведений Малера слышны в симфониях Шостаковича.]

Я не музыковед, мое мнение по большей части – это мнение слушателя. Но однажды я сказал своему врачу, который интересовался российской историей и культурой, что считаю Шостаковича одним из величайших (если не величайшим) композиторов двадцатого века. Есть ли у него конкуренты? Я бы назвал Бартока. Немногие сделали бы такой выбор.

Шостакович напоминает мне Аарона Копленда. Полагаю, это композиторы одного уровня, но все-таки Шостакович кажется мне более выдающимся композитором (что не уменьшает моего восхищения Коплендом, с чьим творчеством я знаком не настолько близко, как следовало бы).

Творчество и Шостаковича, и Копленда пронизано духом родной земли и ее величия. Оба плодотворно работали и создавали произведения самых разных форм на макро- и микроуровнях, так сказать. Оба сочиняли музыку в высшей степени наполненную патриотизмом и национальным духом. Слушая их произведения, люди думают: это настолько русская или американская музыка; что ее автор мог быть только русским или американцем.

Оба не боялись касаться великих тем – российской революции и Великой Отечественной войны; Аппалачии, самого сердца страны, Линкольна, Великой депрессии, демократии – но оба писали высокоинтеллектуальные произведения малой формы (например, камерные произведения).

Несмотря на национализм и патриотизм оба были хорошо знакомы с музыкальными тенденциями и стилями своей эпохи. Их музыку точно не назовешь банальной, шаблонной или ретроградной.

Ни один из композиторов не был марионеткой или апологетом какого-либо политического движения. В книгах о Шостаковиче говорится, что его деятельность шла вразрез с идеологией сталинизма, он жил в страхе перед репрессиями. (Его музыку подвергал критике сам Сталин.) Копленд был сторонником левых взглядов и сочувствовал сионистам.

 

 

***********************************************

 

Пару слов о моем знакомстве Шостаковичем.

Мои родители подарили мне переносной проигрыватель в честь окончания школы. Одной из первых пластинок, которую я купил, была пластинка с записью пятой симфонии Шостаковича в исполнении Эрнеста Ансерме.

Я был впечатлен и тронут произведением, которое я (и не я один) считаю шедевром и величайшей из когда-либо написанных симфоний. По моему мнению, это произведение пронизано «русским духом», что бы это ни значило. Это запоминающееся, мощное произведение, в котором присутствует внутренняя логика и ощущение неизбежности. Оно характеризуется логичной и четко выстроенной формой и напоминает пятую симфонию Бетховена.

Еще одно произведение Шостаковича, которое я открыл для себя одним из первых, – это его одиннадцатая симфония (“1905 год”; 1957). Социолог и философ Питирим Александрович Сорокин, российский эмигрант, преподаватель Гарварда, мимоходом упомянул его в своей автобиографии. Будучи почитателем Сорокина, я просто обязан был послушать это произведение. Мой дядя, Роджер Хенди, подарил мне на Рождество пластинку с этой симфонией в исполнении Андре Клюитанса. Это одно из первых исполнений симфонии; записи одиннадцатой симфонии Шостаковича тогда были большой редкостью. Подзаголовок одиннадцатой симфонии – «1905-й год». В ней при помощи музыкальных средств описываются события русской революции 1905 года. Это очень сильное и лирическое произведение.

В нем Шостакович мастерски использует разнообразные звуковые оттенки, в этом он отличается от других композиторов. В статье в Википедии описана оркестровка одиннадцатой симфонии: 3 флейты (плюс флейта-пикколо), 3 гобоя (плюс охотничий гобой), 3 кларнета (плюс басовый кларнет), 3 фагота (плюс контрафагот), 4 валторны, 3 трубы, 3 тромбона, туба, литавры, треугольник, малый барабан, тарелки, большой барабан, тамтам, ксилофон, колокола, 2 арфы, челеста и струнные. Такие же мрачные и сильные звуковые эффекты мы слышим в пятнадцатой симфонии, при исполнении которой используются колокольчики, челеста, вибрафон, кастаньеты, малый барабан, деревянная коробочка, ксилофон и треугольник.

Такое же мастерское использование звуковых оттенков наблюдается, скажем, в пятой симфонии. Кроме того, Шостакович часто удивляет, или поражает слушателя оригинальной оркестровкой, например, удивительными пассажами на фортепиано в первой и пятой симфониях.

Однажды я открыл для себя квартеты Шостаковича, которые, я считаю, не уступают квартетам Бартока. Шостакович написал пятнадцать симфоний и пятнадцать квартетов. И это не считая концертов. Это огромное наследие!

Еще одно наблюдение, которое я хотел бы высказать, – я знаю, что говорю очевидные вещи и что никому не нужны именно мои высказывания, чтобы понять, что каждое произведение Шостаковича оригинально. Никогда не знаешь, чего ждать от следующего произведения. Четвертая симфония, например, стала полным прорывом после второй и третьей симфоний, которые даже сравнить нельзя с замечательной первой симфонией, которая свежа и оригинальна и, кажется, возникла из ничего; она не была написана под влиянием наставника или предшественника. Седьмая, восьмая, десятая и двенадцатая симфонии имеют схожие черты, но четвертая, пятая, шестая, девятая, тринадцатая, четырнадцатая и пятнадцатая симфонии абсолютно другие, причем они совершенно не похожи друг на друга. Такое же удивительное богатство форм и настроений наблюдается и в квартетах.

Стоит отдельно упомянуть восьмую симфонию Шостаковича. Сильное произведение, одно из лучших произведений композитора. Его исполняют не так часто, как стоило бы. Не стоит слушать его, если вы не готовы пережить страдание – это произведение приводит в отчаяние. В нем мало солнечного света; это не Вивальди.