Monday, January 02, 2006

Great minds think alike .....

Great minds think alike, or do they just read blogs? Thirty-six hours ago I uploaded an article which started:

'2006 brings some important musical anniversaries. The 'biggie' is the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Mozart's birth in January, but let's not forget the hundredth anniversary of Shostakovich's birth as well. There have been howls of outrage because there is no Mozart Fest on BBC Radio 3, but not a single call for a broadcast of the complete Shostakovich opus.'

Today's Guardian leader starts:

'There's no doubt about which composer will be dominating the airwaves this month and for most of this year: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in Salzburg 250 years ago. There's another great musical anniversary to be celebrated this year, however, and this time a real centenary: the birth in September 1906 of Shostakovich.'

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Image credit - Shostakovich from Music from the Movies

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5 comments:

Pliable said...

.. and influential political blogger Tim Worstall and author of the best-selling blogging book writes:

Shostakovich

Bob at An Overgrown Path scoops the Guardian by 24 hours or so.

Great minds think alike or a desperate leader writer surfing the net on a slow weekend?

Henry Holland said...

but not a single call for a broadcast of the complete Shostakovich opus.

Well, thank Buddah for that! Why inflict so much bad music on people (yes, 2nd & 3rd Symphonies, amongst many candidates, I'm glaring right at you)? On the other hand, maybe it would do its part in showing that Shostakovich might be the most overrated major composer that I know of.

Anonymous said...

There is a plaint prefacing the 'Radio' pages of the current Radio Times (31 Dec-6 Jan 2006, p117 col D) on the matter of anniversaries being the hook for programming - 'Sound Off' by David Crawford.
Here's a snippet or two to give the flavour :

" Why shouldn't we honour these giants of music ? I think we should, but I am annoyed by everything being pegged to major dates in individuals' lives - it suggests a certain contempt for listeners: you'll only tune in if a programme has some significant cultural resonance. ..."
"...But there is a glimmer of hope: Radio 3 commendably gave over schedules to the complete works of Beethoven and Bach recently, for no other reason than it was a good idea..."
[Ed.: scheduling Bach in the run-up to Christmas suggests another sort of 'good idea' to me]
"... Let's ...celebrate great artists simply because they are great, not because they were born 150 years ago, they created their masterpiece 75 years ago, or they died six years ago today."

Richard Friedman said...

Interestingly, I'm in the midst of reading William Vollmann's EUROPE CENTRAL, which came out last year. This massive novel (800+ pages) covers much of the war years in Europe from the point of view of two narrators, one working for Hitler, the other for Stalin. But central is Dmitri Shostakovich, or, at least, someone by that name who maybe is Dmitri Shostakovich, or maybe not, because Vollmann admits that much of the biographical information he made up. Especially DDS's romantic adventures.

Vollmann actually apologizes to the Shostakovich family in the notes (25+ pages at the back of the book) for his excesses in the name of art.

It's a strange but engrossing book. Makes you constantly wonder how far Vollmann is going to go. But apparently Shostakovich's world and image has had a profound effect on the author.

But who knows? Could '06 be the year of Shostakovich? That would be nice, after all.

Pliable said...

Richard, thanks for that. It is probably also worth mentioning here Nella Bielski's superb new novel The Year is '42 which covers the same period and was reviewed by me in November. Follow
this overgrown path to the article.