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Shostakovich – all the 5s Condemnation following the attack in Soviet Press on the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. 1936 saw his works under real scrutiny.

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Presentation on theme: "Shostakovich – all the 5s Condemnation following the attack in Soviet Press on the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. 1936 saw his works under real scrutiny."— Presentation transcript:

1 Shostakovich – all the 5s Condemnation following the attack in Soviet Press on the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk saw his works under real scrutiny and little was composed in the immediate aftermath. Irony the Lady Macbeth was in many ways unobjectionable and far less abstract or un-Soviet than The Nose – which was highly ironic. But it was sympathetic to the female character in a time of state crisis – tender understanding anathema to state authorities.

2 Fifth Symphony Formalism the great sin – yet Fifth follows form – conventional sonata form. Tragic feel of first movement also suspect. Art supposed to reflect folk or national idioms – yet very little of such reference is made in the work. Shostavokich had been told in party publications to represent heroic Soviet peasants through folk idioms. Paradox that official reception was so positive.

3 New directions in style Economy – mammoth orchestra of earlier symphonies is gone – though extra percussion and two harps. He had abandoned the huge 4 th Symphony realising that it would get him into even greater problems Avoids complex treatment of themes. No idea inflated beyond its capacity. Clarity and simplicity of style to the fore.

4 Neo-Classicism? Some similarities with Stravinsky’s neo-classical style. (Appollon) But Shostakovich’s work more programmatic – to show the making of a man’ `I saw a man with all his experiences in the centre of the composition which is lyrical in form from beginning to end. The finale is the optimistic solution of the tragically tense moments of the first movement’. Need to cover anticipated official criticism of tragedy in symphonic writing.

5 First Movement Comparison with first symphony first movement. Opens with close canon – foundation semitone drop from bflat to A (Dominant to D). Widest interval at the beginning resolving into lesser jumps = tension to resolution. Lots of clever links derived from the thematic material – overlapping effect of themes appearing first as accompaniments. Feeling of continuity. E.g. repeated chords of second subject provide shape of transition to central section. Interlocking material.

6 Other Movements Second subject is more cool – at arms length. Single melody with basic triadic accompaniment. Second and third movements follow predicable patterns. Only the last has Slav overtones – and seeks to be positive. A phrase from the settings of Four Romanzas op.46 appears in the finale – words from Pushkin `And the doubts pass away from my troubled soul, As a fresh, brighter day brings visions of pure gold.

7 An artists response to just criticism The subtitle suggested submission. The style was conservative and less personal. It met with huge official success and restored him in official favour. In its wake he stared on the first quartet. It saved the Symphony as an acceptable form for Soviet composition.

8 Fifth Quartet ( ) Attaching of all three movements reflects and underlying concern with thematic unity, First four notes of the motive played by the viola at the outset (heard 5 times in the first 12 bars) are a permutation of Shostakovich’s musical signature DSCH (D-Eflat-C-B) – also motif of the tenth symphony.

9 10 th Symphony First two movements of the quartet and the first three of the symphony initiated by the pattern C-D-Eflat of viola. Quartet anticipates symphony – successive opus numbers. Uses minor-major third constellation – a Shostakovich obsession

10 5 th Quartet Opening allegro non troppo is a large scale sonata- form movement complete with repeated exposition. Intense even tragic slow movement presents a simple alternation of Andante and Andantino sections. More complex finale is full of finely wrought counterpoint – from writing of 24 Preludes and Fugues for piano ( ). Influence of piano in polyphony and thematic integration


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