Monday, June 18, 2012 at 7pm.
Announcement of the Shostakovich Festival at the Russian Cultural Center. Bass Carl Ratner and pianist Vera Danchenko-Stern in the RCC with a performance of «Pushkin Songs» by D.Shostakovich.
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906 – 1975) was a Soviet Russian composer and pianist and was one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century.
Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union. He received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the USSR (from 1962 until death).
After a period influenced by Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style, as exemplified by Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934). This single work juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, including the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and post-Romanticism (after Gustav Mahler). Sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque characterize much of his music.
Shostakovich’s orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. Music for chamber ensembles includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two pieces for a string octet, and two piano trios. His piano works include two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include three operas, and a substantial quantity of film music.
Shostakovich’s works are broadly tonal and in the Romantic tradition, but with elements of atonality and chromaticism. In some of his later works (e.g., the Twelfth Quartet), he made use of tone rows. His output is dominated by his cycles of symphonies and string quartets, each numbering fifteen. The symphonies are distributed fairly evenly throughout his career, while the quartets are concentrated towards the latter part. Among the most popular are the Fifth and Seventh Symphonies and the Eighth and Fifteenth Quartets. Other works include the operas Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, The Nose and the unfinished The Gamblers based on the comedy of Nikolai Gogol; six concertos (two each for piano, violin and cello); two piano trios; and a large quantity of film music.
Shostakovich’s music shows the influence of many of the composers he most admired: Bach in his fugues and passacaglias; Beethoven in the late quartets; Mahler in the symphonies and Berg in his use of musical codes and quotations. Among Russian composers, he particularly admiredModest Mussorgsky, whose operas Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina he re-orchestrated; Mussorgsky’s influence is most prominent in the wintry scenes of Lady Macbeth and the Eleventh Symphony, as well as in his satirical works such as «Rayok». Prokofiev’s influence is most apparent in the earlier piano works, such as the first sonata and first concerto. The influence of Russian church and folk music is very evident in his works for unaccompanied choir of the 1950s.