A student’s reverence to Dmitry Shostakovich

Passion © Charles Thibo

“Nature gives me more than useless layers of fossilized academicalism”. To whom Edison Denisov may he have referred too? Certainly not to his teacher Dmitry Shostakovich. To the “Union of Soviet Composers” who ostracized him for the influence of Western contemporary classical music on his work? Denisov’s music did not intend to charm the ear and certainly not to conform to the official doctrine of Socialist Realism. It did rather intend to express the composer’s ideas and feelings about the Socialist reality in the Soviet Union, an ambition that the Communist party could not tolerate.

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A cosmic meditation about humanity

22 000 light-years away – the cluster NGC 4833. Courtesy of NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

When I was a child I wanted to become an astronaut. A dream. Occasionally I think of that dream. I love science-fiction movies. I often look at the stars on a sky-clear night. My daughter and I share a secret passion for astronomy. And I sometimes imagine myself alone in a space station, zero gravity, zero sound. Looking at Mother Earth, meditating.

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Beyond the sky, beyond the spatial curve

The new dimension © Charles Thibo

Into the blue – into the unknown. The new dimension of contemporary classical music. Making sense of sounds and series of sounds. Sound shapes, sound spaces, sound surfaces. A curve – Rebecca Saunders’s composition for chamber orchestra “Into the Blue” makes me think of curves. Space is curved, and the beginning of this 13-minute-piece sounds like solitary voices in outer space, foolish, alluring – come to me, play with me. If we take this music back to earth, the setting could be a jungle with exotic birds, flirting, singing, piping, trilling.

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Intelligible music – To memorize means to understand

The other half. © Charles Thibo

Perpetual postponement – such was the fate of this post. It just never seemed right, the muse took more than two years to come up with an idea. Today is the day, no, tonight is the night to write something about Arnold Schönberg’s Five Piano Pieces, Op. 23. A special piece requiring a special mood, and perhaps I first had to write that post about Schubert’s String Quartet in C major and its link to Mozart’s “Dissonant Quartet” before I could write anything about this work.

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