Upgrade to remove ads
Terms in this set (9)
How was Shostakovich's life and career different from that of Prokofiev?
15 years younger, and grew up with communism. Never lived in the west. Established international reputation at 19, experimented with progressive trends in Soviet music (in early 20s before it was oppressed).
What do all his early works have in common?
Experimentalism, progressive trends.
First Symphony (he was 19 years old)
What is the basic plot of Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District?
Katerina Izmailova, a childless merchants wife in the middle of the great Russian nowhere. She rebels against patriarchal surroundings, murders husband and her father in law with her lover, then sent to Siberia. Lover gives a pair of sock to another woman, she attempts to murder the other woman and ends up falling off a cliff with her.
What was the popular reaction to first performances of the opera, and what was Stalin's reaction?
Enthusiastic audiences, but was not a depiction of Socialist Realism, but instead the actual reality of Soviet Russia. Stalin did not like it. 2 years later, Pravda attacked the libretti and the music, comparing it to chaos. Much of the criticism was puritanical.
What were some of the criticisms of the opera in the official press?
Pravda attacked the libretti and the music, comparing it to chaos. Much of the criticism was puritanical.
"The music croaks and hoots and snorts and pants in order to represent love scenes as naturally as possible, and 'love' in its most vulgar form is smeared all over the opera." - (this had to be why decadent Westerners liked the opera) - it was a submission to "the depraved tastes of bourgeois audiences." He was denounced, this was an existential threat.
How did Shostakovich respond to this criticism in his Fifth Symphony?
"Creative answer to justified criticism." Simpler in terms of formal design, texture, and tonality. Represents a stylistic retrenchment— we can see this in the opening bars. Tonal focus is unambiguous, both parts begin with up-beat D's at the end of first phrase. Dominant function of A. Ostinatos in lower part. Second scherzo movement reminiscent of Mahler's ironic scherzo movements.
What are the conflicting narratives about the meaning behind the Fifth Symphony?
Soviet critics felt it was expressing the ideals of Socialist Realism: optimistic message of triumph over suffering, which was powerfully expressed in the slow movement (people openly wept, probably because of how awful conditions were with their own fear and losing their loved ones), the finale expresses the triumph of optimism and joy.
Secretly others saw the painful, pessimistic slow movement as the real heart of the symphony and the triumphant finale as deliberately forced and artificial. COULD NOT SAY THIS OUT LOUD. They can oppress you for what you say out loud, not for what you think. Instrumental music was valued by the people of the soviet union because of this. Power of music— not limited to the composers intentions.
How did Shostakovich's symphonies and other "public" works differ from his string quartets?
Symphonic productions are uneven, some of them have power and individuality, some were subject to the government.
Chamber music is more consistent, free develop and more personal and musical language. Some written and stashed away.
How did Shostakovich and Prokofiev differ in their approach to the symphony?
Prokofiev: adhered more to 18th-c, tradition: clear textures and forms. Sometimes more modernist as well.
Shostakovich: tend toward the more "narrative" and free-evolving forms of such late 19th c. Composers such as Mahler. Song Symphonies.
This set is often in folders with...
Other sets by this creator