The preludes of Shostakovich: history, video, content, interesting facts, listen

Preludes of Shostakovich

Dmitry Shostakovich's piano works are an endless ocean of great professional music. In his compositions one can hear both unusual modern solutions and classical models. Cycles preludes op. 2, 34 and 87 create a special golden fund of piano miniatures. Learn interesting facts, read about the history of creation, to get acquainted with the content and the concept of cycles can be on our page.

History of creation

Piano preludes op. 2 Dmitri Shostakovich wrote at the age of 14, in 1920. Then, together with fellow musicians Georgi Klementz and Pavel Feldt, they decided to compose a cycle of 24 preludes and fugues. Natural talent for the composition allowed Dmitry to create his own mini-cycle, which consists of 8 preludes, five of which he composed specially, five, and three were written earlier. Since the composer was always critical of his own work, he did not want to publish preludes. Miraculously, the works were deposited with Shostakovich’s classmate Gavril Yudin. Only 40 years later the compositions were published with dedications:

  • 1 prelude to the gorgeous and talented artist B.М. Kustodiyev;
  • 4 preludes - in honor of Masha's sister, who always supported her brother's creativity;
  • 3 essays are marked with the initials N. N.

Mysterious NK stands for Natasha Kuba. Young Shostakovich was in love with this girl, so he dedicated her own compositions to her.

After almost 12 years, the composer decided to implement a long-standing plan - to create a modern CTC. Now he approached very responsibly and seriously to the task. However, twenty-four preludes and fugues op. 34 were written by Shostakovich in the shortest possible time - in just 2 months! At the end of 1932 he began work on the cycle, and by the end of January he completed the miniatures. The emergence of the cycle is marked by the beginning of a new period of life and creativity, associated primarily with the renewal of style and techniques.

In 1950, the whole world of culture celebrated the bicentennial anniversary of the death of the great Johann Sebastian Bach. The most famous musicians came to the German town to take part in a competition with the performance of musical programs. Dmitry Dmitrievich Shostakovich was invited to the jury of the competition. The composer also gave a musicological essay in which he explained the role of Bach's creative work and shared his own attitude with the audience. During a visit to a music festival, the composer was once again inspired to create such a large-scale collection. He openly discussed the possibility of implementation with other European composers, but they were very skeptical about the idea.

Upon arrival in his native USSR, Dmitri Dmitrievich immediately began an essay. Only a few months of active work and modern HTK was completely ready. In April 1951, 24 preludes and fugues were presented to the Central Committee. The composer was very nervous, he was very pale. There was tension in the air. The Commission listened to everything from start to finish. When the last chord sounded, and Shostakovich got up from behind the piano, there was a deathly silence. He slowly got up, walked around the room and sat down. No one approached him. Only the commission vehemently discussed the works among themselves. Everything was like a court. A few minutes later Shostakovich was again accused of formalism. "Can this music be useful for the people? Who did you write it for?" - one by one the members of the commission asked. Composers Marian Koval and Dmitry Kabalevsky took an active part in condemnation. The composer himself was very upset by the commission’s misunderstanding, but the attacks did not prevent the talented pianists from performing such a bright cycle of works. Within a few months, the performer Tatyana Nikolaeva included music in her own repertoire and gave several concerts, which were very popular with true connoisseurs of musical art.

Today, the preludes and fugues of Dmitri Shostakovich are classics of the 20th century.

Interesting Facts

  • In January 1962, only 10 years after the premiere, the first recording of the cycle on the record was made. The performer was the famous pianist Tatiana Nikolaeva, who also performed works at the premiere.
  • The earliest opus number 2 was published only in 1960, almost forty years after writing. The collection was published by the famous conductor and conservative friend Dmitry Shostakovich Gavril Yakovlevich Yudin.
  • In the preludes and fugues are presented the scale that is characteristic of Russian folk sacred music.
  • Shostakovich began his every day by playing one piece from the CTC of the great composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
  • Shostakovich was always wondering what kind of paint a particular tonality could give. So, the forerunner to the creation of the cycle op. 87 steel works such as 15 string quartets, which, starting from the eighth, are arranged according to the quint ratio, as well as The Children's Notebook.
  • For 24 preludes and fugues, Shostakovich was once again accused of formalistic views.


Eight preludes op. 2

The composer’s early musical creativity is above all life-affirming music filled with light and positive. Even minor compositions, such as the A minor and F minor minor preludes, have a special bright atmosphere.

The first composition is written in the a-moll key. Light, lyrical music has a touch of humor and carelessness. Every sound sparkles and shimmers. The versatility of the melodic construction makes you listen attentively and completely immerses into the magical world of childhood. Naive and elegant composition worthy of the attention of the listener.

Bright contrast creates a minor minor essay. Dramatic character and unusual harmony distinguish the work. It is difficult to choose epithets to describe the colorful music. Many compare it with time, with his implacable run.

Prelude in G major has a bright orchestral sound. Her epic character, power and severity draw amazing patriotic images.

The cycle of eight preludes is a collection of small musical experiments, when the composer was just in search of his own individual style.

24 preludes op. 34

A music gallery can be considered a cycle of 24 preludes. Consistencies of preludes in a quint ratio are arranged according to the principle of contrast. It is in this opus that one can trace the noticeable growth of the composer.

In many ways, one can trace the influence of composers of romantics, including Frédéric Chopin and Scriabin’s early work. The cycle consists of bright contrasts: depth and conciseness, cheerfulness and philosophical thoughtfulness, drama and humor.

The cycle contains 24 diverse compositions that create plot unity:

  1. The first prelude is different improvisational warehouse. Light, airy music takes you far from reality, forcing you to dive into the boundless world of dreams and fantasies.
  2. The second essay sends us to Spain. You can clearly hear the folk music of the country with its exciting and rhythmic guitar searches.
  3. The genre of the next composition was romance. The melody has a vocal warehouse and is easily remembered.
  4. Intellectual and focused fugato allows the listener to think about the eternal.
  5. In the fifth play, you can play out and develop your own technique. Genre basis - etude.
  6. The piano composition is built on dissonance and resembles a fake play by orchestra players.
  7. The magic seventh prelude is a night song.
  8. The eighth is a fantasy that paints a variety of bizarre images. It changes as fast as clouds in the sky.
  9. Once again, the listener can travel, studying music genres. Now the characteristic rhythms of tarantella are clearly audible.
  10. An organ-grinder plays on the main street, his barrel organ is probably old, but, nevertheless, it never ceases to amaze the listener with interesting melodies.
  11. Scherzo is a little game.
  12. The refined and elegant composition resembles a minuet or a gallant dance.
  13. In contrast to the previous number - rough dance in shoes.
  14. Everything is clouded. Silence music sounds, music is a mourning procession.
  15. In the rhythm of the waltz playing music box.
  16. And outside the window young soldiers are marching, filled with the energy of youth.
  17. Once again, the listener enters the room. Feelings are aggravated, the motives of sentimental waltz are heard.
  18. Everything is naive and childish. A little scherzo is dedicated to this.
  19. Dreams take us to distant Italy. Somewhere in Venice sounds good old barcarol.
  20. But we are already far from undulating passages. The listener is covered by the speaker's pathetic speech.
  21. Again, everything is interrupted by a whimsical and a little puppet scherzo.
  22. Contrasting thoughtful elegy. Memories of the past rush by.
  23. Unusual with elements of a modern musical language is the following composition.
  24. The ending of all becomes a cheerful gavotte.

Shostakovich’s music is unusual in that it can change its own content depending on the performer’s interpretation. Each person can invent their own pictures, as the composition does not have a program.

Cycle 24 Preludes and Fugues

A cycle of 24 preludes and fugues by Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich is a new word in the art of writing polyphonic works. Throughout his career, the composer went to the realization of his own intention - to show the possibilities of each key. It is noteworthy that the author himself said that the compositions are not related to the drama of the composition. A separate essay is a small world with its own collisions or their absence.

It is conditionally possible to divide all the preludes and fugues into the following groups:

  • The tragedy imagery is characteristic of preludes and fugues b-moll, h-moll. It is in these writings that the pain of a person broken by fate, fate, or events can be heard.
  • Humorous shade peculiar to works in the tonality of As-dur and fis-moll. In the first case, one can hear obvious exaggerations and grotesque images.
  • The lyric-dramatic character is of a fugue in G minor.
  • The archaic, historical style, reminiscent of baroque music, including the work of brilliant Bach, can be heard in C major and F major preludes.

Interesting to consider the prelude Des-moll. It is almost impossible to determine the tonality, since the work is filled with chromatic moves.

The use of music in the cinema

  • "Frank Lloyd Wright" (1998) - No. 12, 18, 21 op. 34
  • Smoke (1995) - # 1 op. 87
  • "Ever Decreasing Circles" (1984) - No. 15 op. 87

Preludes in Shostakovich's piano work are not just miniatures, they are small performances in which different actors take part. You can hear the tragedy or comedy, drama or puppet show - it all depends on the mood of the director who chooses music. We hope that the article was interesting to read!

Watch the video: Interview with Leonard Slatkin (October 2019).

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