One hundred and six years ago today, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was born, and a wonderful chapter in the history of music was begun. His music has touched so many people, and is incredibly popular. One of those people so touched is me. I still consider hearing his first symphony as one of the most important moments in my life, not just my musical life, but my whole life. So, on this special day I celebrated by listening to some of my favorite scores.
Most folks would say that Shostakovich’s 5th, or 10th symphonies are his crowning symphonic achievements, but I would have to disagree. I’d say his 8th is my number 1. Seriously, that first movement monumental, one of the greatest movements in the lit. if you ask me. Again, most folks would say the 8th string quartet is his greatest string quartet. Again, I’d disagree. The 9th string quartet might be one of my desert island pieces. The last section of that big last movement always gets me. It’s an amazing piece. I also listened to the 10th quartet because it was there. The second movement is nutty, and very well lives up to the furioso tempo indication. In one of the first things I wrote on this blog I remarked that there were moments that sounded like the music from “Schindler’s List.” I have no idea why I said that, and I take that back. Regardless, good score. And as I type this I am listening to the piece that started this love affair, Symphony 1.
Here’s to another 106 years of amazing and profound music from Soviet Russia’s golden boy!