Chaos and Music: Inspired by the Novel ‘The Noise of Time’
Shostakovich and Co - A playlist inspired by Julian Barnes’ novel ‘The Noise of Time’. Curated by Albrecht Selge.Read more…
- Shostakovich • The Golden Age, Ballet Suite op. 22a (1929-1930, rev. 1935) • 3. Polka (Allegretto)The Golden Age, Ballet Suite op. 22a (1929-1930, rev. 1935)
3. Polka (Allegretto)Constantine Orbelian, Moscow Chamber OrchestraJuly 1999, Moscow, Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall
- Shostakovich • Symphony No. 1 in F minor op. 10 • I. Allegretto – Allegro non troppoSymphony No. 1 in F minor op. 10
I. Allegretto – Allegro non troppoEugene Ormandy, The Philadelphia Orchestra1959, Philadelphia, Broadwood Hotel
- Shostakovich • Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor op. 8 (1923) • Andante – AllegroPiano Trio No. 1 in C minor op. 8 (1923)
Andante – AllegroMünchner Klaviertrio
Donald Sulzen (Piano), Michael Arlt (Violin), Gerhard Zank (Violoncello)1999, München, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Studio 2
- Shostakovich • Pesn’a o vstrechnom (Song of the Counterplan) op. 33 (1932) • Nas utro vstrechajet prohladoj (The morning cheers us with its freshness)Pesn’a o vstrechnom (Song of the Counterplan) op. 33 (1932)
Nas utro vstrechajet prohladoj (The morning cheers us with its freshness)Mikhail Lukonin (Baritone), Yuri Serov (Piano)2002, Saint Petersburg, St. Catherine Lutheran Church
- Mussorgsky • Boris Godunov: 'Da zdravstvuet tsar' Boris Feodorovich!' (Long live Tsar Boris Feodorovich!) – 'Skorbit dusha!' (My soul is sad) (Shuisky, Chorus, Boris, Prologue) • Da zdravstvuet tsar' Boris Feodorovich! – Skorbit dusha!Boris Godunov: 'Da zdravstvuet tsar' Boris Feodorovich!' (Long live Tsar Boris Feodorovich!) – 'Skorbit dusha!' (My soul is sad) (Shuisky, Chorus, Boris, Prologue)
Da zdravstvuet tsar' Boris Feodorovich! – Skorbit dusha!Maksim Paster (Tenor), Mikhail Kasakov (Bass), Alexander Alexandrovich Vedernikov
Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, Bolshoi Theatre Chorus2005 - 2006, Moscow
- Shostakovich • Suite from Katerina Izmailova op. 114a (1963) • 5. Entr'acte between Scenes 7 and 8. PrestoSuite from Katerina Izmailova op. 114a (1963)
5. Entr'acte between Scenes 7 and 8. PrestoMichail Jurowski, Kölner Rundfunk-SinfonieorchesterFebruary 1996, Köln, Kölner Philharmonie
- Shostakovich • Symphony No. 4 in C minor op. 43 • I. Allegretto poco moderato – PrestoSymphony No. 4 in C minor op. 43
I. Allegretto poco moderato – PrestoVasily Petrenko, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra2013, Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall
- Shostakovich • Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in D minor op. 40 (1934) • III. LargoSonata for Violoncello and Piano in D minor op. 40 (1934)
III. LargoMstislav Rostropovich (Violoncello), Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano)1957, Moscow, Radio House
- Shostakovich • Symphony No. 5 in D minor op. 47 • IV. Finale. Allegro non troppoSymphony No. 5 in D minor op. 47
IV. Finale. Allegro non troppoEvgeny Mravinsky, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra1954, Moscow
- Stravinsky • Symphony of Psalms • Psalm 40. Expectans expectavi DominumSymphony of Psalms
Psalm 40. Expectans expectavi DominumPhilippe Herreweghe, DeFilharmonie, Collegium Vocale Gent2009
- Bartók • String Quartet No. 3 BB 93 Sz. 85 (1927) • II. Seconda parte. AllegroString Quartet No. 3 BB 93 Sz. 85 (1927)
II. Seconda parte. AllegroJuilliard String Quartet
Robert Mann (Violin), Robert Koff (Violin), Raphael Hillyer (Viola), Arthur Winograd (Violoncello)1949
- Prokofiev • Symphony No. 6 in E flat minor op. 111 (1945-1947) • I. Allegro moderatoSymphony No. 6 in E flat minor op. 111 (1945-1947)
I. Allegro moderatoNeeme Järvi, Royal Scottish National OrchestraGlasgow, Glasgow City Hall
- Shostakovich • Preludes and Fugues op. 87 (1950-1951) • Prelude No. 10 in C sharp minorPreludes and Fugues op. 87 (1950-1951)
Prelude No. 10 in C sharp minorDavid Jalbert (Piano)℗ 2008
- Shostakovich • Preludes and Fugues op. 87 (1950-1951) • Fugue No. 10 in C sharp minorPreludes and Fugues op. 87 (1950-1951)
Fugue No. 10 in C sharp minorDavid Jalbert (Piano)℗ 2008
- Shostakovich • Song of the Forests, Oratorio op. 81 • No. 2 Let us clothe the country in forests (Chorus)Song of the Forests, Oratorio op. 81
No. 2 Let us clothe the country in forests (Chorus)Vitaly Kilichevsky (Tenor), Ivan Petrov (Bass), Evgeny Mravinsky
State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov”, Boys Choir of the Moscow Choral College1949, Saint Petersburg
- Shostakovich • String Quartet No. 8 in C minor op. 110 (1960) • I. Largo –String Quartet No. 8 in C minor op. 110 (1960)
I. Largo –Borodin Quartet
Rostislav Dubinsky (Violin), Yaroslav Aleksandrov (Violin), Dmitri Shebalin (Viola), Valentin Berlinsky (Violoncello)1962, London, West Hampstead Studios
- Shostakovich • Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor op. 113 “Babi Yar” • V. A Career. AllegrettoSymphony No. 13 in B flat minor op. 113
V. A Career. AllegrettoAlexander Vinogradov (Bass), Vasily Petrenko
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, Huddersfield Choral Society2013, Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall
- Shostakovich • String Quartet No. 15 in E flat minor op. 144 (1974) • VI. Epilogue. AdagioString Quartet No. 15 in E flat minor op. 144 (1974)
VI. Epilogue. AdagioPacifica Quartet
Simin Ganatra (Violin), Sibbi Bernhardsson (Violin), Masumi Per Rostad (Viola), Brandon Vamos (Violoncello)August 2013, Bloomington, Indiana University, Auer Hall
“It was life he was afraid of, not death”. Dmitri Shostakovich, the most famous composer of the Soviet Union and a quintessential artist of the 20th Century, truly had every reason to feel that way. His life was torn between extremes that threatened his existence: firstly physical, renounced indirectly by Stalin as a national enemy in the article “Chaos statt Musik” (“Muddle Instead of Music”), and later moral, as chairman of the Soviet Union of Composers.
The English author Julian Barnes reflects on this chaotic musical life in his compelling novel “The Noise of Time” (Jonathan Cape) at three key points: on the stairs of his apartment, where Shostakovich waited night after night in 1936 for his arrest and execution; in the airplane on the way home from the USA in 1948, caught in a wave of emotions and the feeling of having betrayed one's own principles (“One fear drives out another, as one nail drives out another”); and finally, sitting in a chauffeur-driven car on the way to his holiday home - as a representative artist of the State and a despairing, sick man.
Although music isn’t the focus of this novel about an artist’s life during a terror-filled time, Shostakovich’s music always resonates with the narrative, and to hear his music makes this intensive reading experience even more powerful.
The playlist follows Shostakovich’s flow of consciousness in the novel: the Polka in which the memories of the musical father resonate, and the early piano trio for his first love Tanja; the “Song of the Counterplan”, Shostakovich’s Bolshevik superhit; the (according to Stalin) chaotic and neurotic ‘Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District’ and the defeatist cello sonata; banal propaganda music of the 50s (The Song of the Forests) and the immortal ‘morendo’ of the late string quartets.
The famous symphonies are also represented here: the First, at whose premiere in Charkow the dogs howled and whose dedicatee was later shot; the Fourth, "like a medley of quacks and grunts and growls", which the composer withdrew in fear for his life; the Fifth whose (ironic?) jubilant finale helped to save his neck; the wartime Eighth symphony composed in a henhouse; and the desperate, sarcastic Thirteenth.
In between are works by other composers that affected Shostakovich’s life and art: Stalin’s favourite opera ‘Boris Godunov’ by Mussorgsky; the ‘Symphony of Psalms’ by Stravinsky, who Shostakovich considered the greatest composer of his time but was forced to publicly vilify; Bartók’s inspirational string quartets and music by Prokofiev, the fellow sufferer scorned by Shostakovich.
However, a word of caution! When listening one should never forget what Barnes’ elderly Shostakovich thinks: “When listening to his own music, he would sometimes cover his mouth with his hands, as if to say: Do not trust what comes out of my mouth, trust only what goes into your ears!”
Original citations from Julian Barnes: ‘The Noise of Time’, Jonathan Cape - Penguin Random House UK.