Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich (dyĬmē´trē shŏstŏkô´vĬch), 1906–75, Russian composer, b. St. Petersburg. Shostakovich studied at the Leningrad Conservatory (1919–25). The early success of his First Symphony (1925) was confirmed by positive public reaction to two satirical works of 1930—an opera, The Nose (Leningrad; from a tale by Gogol), and a ballet, The Golden Age. Shostakovich sought Soviet approval and survived the changing tides of opinion. Severely castigated after Stalin saw a 1936 production of his popular opera Lady Macbeth of the Mzensk District (1934), he was restored to favor with his powerful, traditional, yet ironic Fifth Symphony (1937). From then on he concentrated on symphonic compositions, with later, post-Stalin symphonies tending to deconstruct the traditional Beethoven model (in all, he wrote 15 symphonies) and, during the World War II, on heroic cantatas. Influenced by Mahler in his monumental symphonies, many of which include choral portions, Shostakovich was basically a Russian nationalist composer whose work represented traditional classical forms and generally remained accessibly tonal. Nonethless, his tart harmonics and musical portrayal of pain and turmoil are distinctly 20th cent. in tone. His outstanding works include 15 string quartets, a piano concerto (1933), the Piano Quintet (1940), the Eighth Symphony (1943), 24 Preludes and Fugues for Piano (1951), and the 13th Symphony, "Babi Yar" (1962).

See Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich as Related to and Edited by Solomon Volkov (1979, repr. 2000); biographies by V. I. Seroff and N. K. Shohat (1970), E. Wilson (1994), and L. E. Fay (1999); study by N. F. Kay (1971); I. MacDonald, The New Shostakovich (1990); A. B. Ho and D. Feofanov, Shostakovich Reconsidered (1998); M. H. Brown, ed., A Shostakovich Casebook (2004); L. E. Fay, ed., Shostakovich and His World (2004); S. Moshevich, Dmitri Shostakovich, Pianist (2004); S. Volkov, Shostakovich and Stalin (2004); W. Lesser, Music for Silenced Voices: Shostakovich and The Fifteen Quartets (2011).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Dmitri Shostakovich: Selected full-text books and articles

Shostakovich: A Life By Laurel E. Fay Oxford University Press, 2000
The Early Film Music of Dmitry Shostakovich By Joan Titus Oxford University Press, 2016
Shostakovich: The Man and His Music By Christopher Norris Lawrence & Wishart, 1984
Dmitri Shostakovich: The Man and His Work By Ivan Martynov; T. Guralsky Philosophical Library, 1947
Russian Symphony: Thoughts about Tchaikovsky By Dmitri Shostakovich Philosophical Library, 1947
The Symphony: A Listener's Guide By Michael Steinberg Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: "Dmitri Schostakovich" begins on p. 533
Dmitry Shostakovich: A Life Challenged by the Powers That Be Russian Life, Vol. 49, No. 5, September-October 2006
Irony, Deception, and Political Culture in the Works of Dmitri Shostakovich By Gerstel, Jennifer Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 32, No. 4, December 1999
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Rehabilitations of Shostakovich By Kinetz, Erika The American Prospect, Vol. 11, No. 18, August 14, 2000
Music and the Politics of Culture By Christopher Norris Lawrence & Wishart, 1989
Librarian's tip: "Ideology and Form: Shostakovich East and West" begins on p. 172
Dmitri Shostakovich and the Jews By Bloom, Cecil Midstream, Vol. 52, No. 5, September-October 2006
Shostakovich, Kadaré and the Nature of Dissidence: An Albanian View By Koço, Eno Musical Times, Vol. 146, No. 1890, Spring 2005
Shostakovich's Sixteenth Symphony By Matthew-Walker, Robert Musical Opinion, Vol. 129, No. 1451, March/April 2006
Interpreting Shostakovich's Eclectic Second Cello Concerto By Wilson, Miranda Strings, Vol. 26, No. 5, December 2011
Conductors on Composers By John L. Holmes Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian's tip: "Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975)" begins on p. 167
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