How Might Shostakovich’s Chamber Music Reflect A Dissenting Attitude Towards The Soviet State?

1067 words - 5 pages

How might Shostakovich’s chamber music reflect a dissenting attitude towards the soviet state? What other reasons might there be for the way his music was composed?

In this essay I am going to discuss how Shostakovich’s music reflected a disagreement or different opinion to the ideals of the soviet state, I will also discuss what other elements he used to compose his music.
Firstly, Shostakovich is an example of a composer who both stuck to certain musical traditions but also dissented from them, for example, he used many traditions to compose his music but also through some of it he was challenging Stalin’s dictatorship. It was very clear through Shostakovich’s music that he did not ...view middle of the document...

Shostakovich’s music carried on attracting criticism and provoked extreme reactions from the public, for example, his works Symphony no.8 (1943) was called ‘Repulsive’ and symphony no.9 (1945) called ‘Grotesque.’ it was viewed as ‘an inappropriate reflection of the celebratory national mood at the end of the second world war.’
As well as provoking public criticism, Shostakovich also continued with his more traditional works, such as his string quartet no.2. He also used Jewish elements in his music which could be see and expressions of dissent.
There are also other reasons for the way Shostakovich composed his music, one being the sudden death of his first wife in 1954, he wrote several pieces of chamber music to express his feelings and emotions during this tragic time in his life.
During the classical period, many composers used a traditional structure in music known as, Sonata form. Sonata form is made up of three parts, an exposition, a melody or two, then a development, developing the melody or experimenting with it and then a recapitulation, which is a return to the original melody. Many of Shostakovich’s work was composed using this traditional structure. An example of this is Shostakovich’s string quartet no.2 which contains two radically contrasting melodies during the exposition, then he goes on to mix up and fragment them melodies in the development stage. In the recapitulation he somewhat dissents from tradition by hinting at the return of the original melody but not as recognisable, the he presents tune 2 before ending with a bold return to tune 1.
Also his other reasons for composing music may be the love of classical music that seems to be imminent in his music as he continues the traditions of a movement called ‘Sherzo’ well into the twentieth century.
Beethoven and Mozart were also fans of this style of music, and used it in some of their works. Although a sherzo is typically in three-time Shostakovich’s Scherzi sometimes form the second movement of his four-movement works and aren’t always in three-time. In the classical period, a big four-movement work...

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