By Pauline Fairclough
Composed in 1935-36 and meant to be his inventive 'credo', Shostakovich's "Fourth Symphony" was once no longer played publicly till 1961. the following, Dr Pauline Fairclough tackles head-on the most major and least understood of Shostakovich's significant works. She argues that the "Fourth Symphony" was once noticeably diversified from its Soviet contemporaries when it comes to its constitution, dramaturgy, tone or even language, and for this reason challenged the norms of Soviet symphonism at a vital level of its improvement. With the backing of trendy musicologists resembling Ivan Sollertinsky, the composer might realistically have anticipated the optimum to have taken position, and should also have meant the symphony to be a version for a brand new type of 'democratic' Soviet symphonism. Fairclough meticulously examines the ranking to notify a dialogue of tonal and thematic techniques, allusion, paraphrase and connection with musical varieties, or intonations. Such research is determined deeply within the context of Soviet musical tradition through the interval 1932-36, concerning Shostakovich's contemporaries Shabalin, Myaskovsky, Kabalevsky and Popov. a brand new approach to research can be complicated right here, the place a number Soviet and Western analytical tools are knowledgeable by means of the theoretical paintings of Shostakovich's contemporaries Viktor Shklovsky, Boris Tomashevsky, Mikhail Bakhtin and Ivan Sollertinsky, including Theodor Adorno's past due examine of Mahler. during this approach, the ebook will considerably elevate an figuring out of the symphony and its context.
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Additional resources for A Soviet Credo: Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony
Quoted in Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Cultural Front: Power and Culture in Revolutionary Russia, New York: Cornell University Press , 1 992, 116. 3 See Fitzpatrick, The Cultural Front, Chapter 6 , 'Cultural Revolution a s Class War ' , 1 1 5-48 . 4 As Neil Edmunds points out, the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (RAPP) did receive considerable official criticism in the years immediately preceding the 1 932 Resolution that ordered the liquidation of all proletarian cultural factions. The fact that RAPM did not probably had more to do with a general perception of music as less important than literature , an attitude which , apart from the attacks on Shostakovich and others in 1936, protected Soviet composers from the worst excesses of the purges of 1 937-39: see Edmunds , The Soviet Proletarian Music Movement, Bern: Peter Lang , 2000 ,.
27 Sollertinsky plainly considered Mahler's symphonies to be ideal models for Soviet composers, but it would have been self-defeating to declare this openly. The idea that European symphonism was in catastrophic and irreversible decline at the turn of the century was treated as a well-established fact in Soviet musicology of the 1930s. How then could Mahler, whose supposed acknowledgement of this fact was a primary component of his own alienated symphonic language, be regarded as a model for composers in the brave new world of socialism?
This balancing-act produces a conceptual vocabulary that, it could be argued, simply cannot function when divorced from the (possibly less appealing) ideological apparatus underpinning it. The potency, for ex ample, of such concepts as Durchbruch, Erfii llung and Suspension [breakthrough, fulfilment and suspension] inight well be reduced when applied to musical language and dramaturgy in a sociologically 'neutral' analysis . This is where another balancing-act must come into play: that between using theory simply as material, divorced from its original ideological context, and using it in a way that imposes ideological meaning upon the music .