The Phenomenon of Dmitri Shostakovich
In this book, Shostakovich’s work is explored as a holistic phenomenon, associated with a wide variety of cultural and art phenomena of the past and present, and testifying to the amazing ability of the human spirit to benefit even from the most adverse circumstances.
All of Shostakovich’s key opuses, from the extravagant early opera The Nose to a series of pessimistic late “autoepitalia,” are analyzed in detail taking into account the wide cultural and historical context.
Within the framework of the “Shostakovich phenomenon” various evolutionary lines are traced, through compositional ideas, stylistic constants, leitmotifs are revealed.
The essence of the "Shostakovich Phenomenon" in its most general terms is defined as an organic inability to refrain from ambiguity, internal contradictions, complications fraught with emotional and psychological discomfort; as the central metaphysical theme of his work, the theme of the decline of the universe and the violation of the "correct" order of things is advanced. The first six chapters are devoted to a systematic review of Shostakovich’s heritage, while the seventh chapter deals with such an essential aspect of the “Shostakovich phenomenon” as the impact of his work and personality on students and followers. The text is illustrated by numerous musical examples.
The book is addressed to musicologists, musicians of other specialties and everyone who is interested in the history of Russian music and Soviet civilization.