This Year Will Be One to Remember. REVIEW

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), January 8, 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

This Year Will Be One to Remember. REVIEW


2006 anniversaries Mozart Shostakovich Gliere Arensky Finzi

This is, of course, Mozart's year, but his 250th is but one of a dozen significant anniversaries of leading composers in 2006. They range from the 150th of the death, aged only 52, of the Parisian Adolphe Adam, composer of the evergreen Giselle and 80 other almost totally forgotten stage works, to the 150th of the birth of the Norwegian Christian Sinding, who deserves to be remembered for more than the Rustle Of Spring.

Of these others, by far the most significant is the centenary of the birth of Dmitri Shostakovich. Alongside his friend Benjamin Britten, he is surely the greatest voice among composers born in the 20th Century.

Shostakovich is certainly the most distinguished symphonist of the mid-20th Century, with 15 to his credit. Several are among the finest ever written, notably the populist Fifth, the searing 10th and the quizzical 15th; full of references to childhood musical memories and the ticking of time's clock as life ebbs away.

His 15 string quartets yield in significance only to Beethoven's. As a journey they are, dare I say, an even more impressive achievement than those of Mozart.

Shostakovich's greatness lies in his irony as much as his seriousness, notably his ability to satirise Stalin's Russia in terms any musical person can understand. Not for him the blind alley of atonalism.

Shostakovich was an unashamed melodist and populist. Some of his film tunes, such as the beautiful Romance from The Gadfly, are unforgettable.

He is to be treasured, not least because after his death in 1975, and Britten's a year later, truly great living voices in serious music have been stilled. In 30 years no one has proved fit to assume their mantle.

Two other Russians are also worth remembering this year: Reinhold Gliere, who died 50 years ago, and Anton Arensky, who died in 1906.

Gliere was a well established romantic composer of the nationalist school before the revolution and he continued to write the same sort of stuff thereafter.

As such, he had none of the problems with Stalin that beset Shostakovich and Prokofiev.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

This Year Will Be One to Remember. REVIEW


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?