IBNA- An inspiring book, ‘Shostakovich Symphonies and Concertos: An Owner's Manual’ (2006) by prolific American author David Hurwitz has been published in Persian and is available to Iranian fans of Classical music.
The book has been translated into Persian by Amir-Hossein Joz’e Ramezani who also held interviews with Hurwitz and added them to the original work. Naay-o Ney Publishing has released ‘Shostakovich Symphonies and Concertos’ in 652 pages.
The fall of the Soviet empire has not diminished the popularity of Dmitri Shostakovich's great symphonies and concertos one bit, despite the fact that most literature on him neglects any substantive discussion of the music itself in favor of biographical speculation on the relationship between the composer and the political climate of the day.
This is the first book to provide a detailed, descriptive analysis of the 21 symphonies and concertos, work by work, explaining not just why they are significant documents of their time and place, but why they are great music in general. This offers readers an understanding of why Shostakovich's music enjoys the enduring support of performers and listeners alike, and how it fits into the great tradition of Western classical music generally.
A child of Tsarist Russia and the Russian Revolution, Dmitri Shostakovich was born in St. Petersburg. Throughout his entire life, Shostakovich suffered from the effects of a childhood of malnutrition and disease. Despite such deprivation, he became a composer of powerful and advanced music.
After studying music at the Leningrad Conservatory between 1919 and 1925, Shostakovich presented his First Symphony in 1925 to critical acclaim. In subsequent years he wrote 14 more symphonies, always attempting to follow the Communist party prescription to portray "Socialist Realism."
For his efforts, however, Shostakovich was alternately reviled and hailed by the leadership of the Soviet Union. On his sixtieth birthday, he was finally honored as a Hero of Socialist Labor. Of his 15 symphonies, only the Fifth Symphony (1937) and the Tenth Symphony (1953) have gained a prominent place in concert repertoires. The Fifth Symphony is a masterpiece of symphonic composition and follows traditional symphonic construction in its movements.
In the Tenth Symphony, Shostakovich introduced musical elements that he also incorporated into other compositions, notably the fifth and eighth string quartets and his concertos for violin and cello. Shostakovich wrote ballets, such as 'The Golden Age' (1930). Many of his other works were also choreographed as ballets.
He also composed an opera, 'Lady Macbeth of the District of Mtsensk' (1930--32). Although it was condemned by Soviet authorities, who considered it full of "Western decadence," it enjoyed some success outside the Soviet Union. Shostakovich's music is remarkably consistent in style, technique, and emotional content.
David Hurwitz is the founder and executive editor of Classicstoday.com, the Internet's first and only daily classical music magazine, and the Chairman and Founder of the Cannes Classical Awards., He currently serves as a radio commentator for NPR's Performance Today and WNYC's Soundcheck., He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Among his books are:
‘Beethoven or Bust: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Listening to Great Music’; ‘The Mahler Symphonies: An Owner's Manual’; ‘Exploring Haydn: A Listener's Guide to Music's Boldest Innovator’; ‘Getting the Most Out of Mozart: The Vocal Works’; ‘Brahms' Symphonies: A Closer Look’; and ‘Listening to Mendelssohn: An Owner's Manual’.