The Arts, the Senses, and the Imagination
by Robert Millar on September 25th, 2014

Today is the birthday of the Russian composer, Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975). He is one of my favorite composers for a number of reasons, but chiefly because in some of his music he had the ability to plunge very quickly and deeply into the soul of a listener, pushing aside all human defenses and arriving finally at a region of profound seriousness. There, he immerses us in an atmosphere of great gravity and intensity. It is a landscape marked by feelings of darkness, loneliness, and loss. Not a nice place to live, but strangely satisfying to visit. Most of us have been there at one time or another, and for him to have captured something of it in sound is a remarkable achievement. One of the great assets of classical music is its ability to pinpoint and explore areas of human experience rarely addressed by the more superficial aspects of life. Seeing our own inner lives understood and reflected back to us in music is somehow reassuring, for in that moment we come to understand that we are not alone.

This example is a Prelude from his Opus 87 collection of 24 Preludes and Fugues for piano. It is #4 in E Minor, played by Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Posted in MUSIC    Tagged with Dmitri Shostakovich, music, classical music, birthday


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