Shostakovich Essay

3115 Words Jul 20th, 2006 13 Pages
Dmitri Shostakovich:
A Musical Representation of Communist Russia In the musical world, no one is as controversial as Dmitri Shostakovich. Although he died not 30 years ago, many aspects of his life still remain to be a great mystery. When he was alive, many in the world believed he was a Communist and a devoted servant of Stalin. It was not until after his death that the truth had come out. Or had the truth been there all along? Many believe that this was because his music expressed a lot of nationalism and idolized Stalin. However, in an attempt to escape the red fist of Stalin, Shostakovich made his music appear to be nationalistic when really it is full of sarcasm and hidden messages. Shostakovich showed his contempt Stalin and
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He was forced to repent in public and his works were then banned. A close friend had said that in fear of the Secret Police "he waited for his arrest at night out on the landing by the lift, so that at least his family would not be disturbed" ("Dmitri"). After 1948, he started composing film scores which the government would allow to be performed. He also wrote many public works that appeared to be pro-party so that his reputation with the government might be salvaged. Little did many know until after his death, he had written many works that were not to be seen by the public eye. Shostakovich also managed to secretly portray his personal beliefs in the public works he did while still appearing to be part of the party. One of these works was titled "From Jewish Folk Poetry." After this point, Shostakovich would continue to gang the admiration of the party, while still keeping his personal beliefs hidden within his music. After Shostakovich's second public denunciation from Stalin, he was forced to write many pro-party works in order to salvage his reputation. "Dissidence did not exist under Stalin: all his opponents were either dead or in the gulag" (Simon, "Politics"). Shostakovich had to appease the authorities with traditional music or his life would be at risk. This situation brought great despair to Shostakovich, because he felt

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