The Modern Age

twentieth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz


Dmitri Shostakovich



Critics generally agree that Shostakovich, in his 15 symphonies and 15 string quartets, exhibits remarkable stature and range of expression. The influence of Mahler is particularly visible in the epic scale of the symphonies, with their frequent juxtaposition of tragedy and savage irony.

The listener discovers a far more ambiguous distance, however, between Shostakovich as the foremost Soviet composer of his time — with a long list of optimistic and affirmative "official" works to his name — and the private man, whose bleak depression appears at its most extreme in such late works as the String quartet No. 15, made up of six Adagio movements.

The young Shostakovich studied at the St Petersburg Conservatoire, taking time off from his studies to play the piano in cinemas to support his sisters and widowed mother. He was outstanding as both a pianist and composer, and in 1927 won a prize at the Warsaw Chopin Competition for his playing. His Symphony No. I, a precociously assured masterpiece written in 1924 and 1925, soon gained a place in the international repertoire, which it has retained to this day.

Incidental music for film and stage suited Shostakovich's fluent abilities, and in an opera, The nose, he explored his gift for satire. He also employed satire in the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk to heighten the tragic emotional world of the central character, a frustrated wife who murders her husband. To start with, the opera was a great success, performed 83 times in St Petersburg and 97 in Moscow between 1934 and 1936. In 1936, however, the composer suffered a dramatic reversal of fortune when an article in Pravda entitled "Chaos Instead of Music" viciously attacked the modernist tendencies of his score.

Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 in 1 937 was subtitled by the composer "the creative reply of a Soviet artist to justified criticism." While it reinstated the composer in official favour — and remains popular -one can detect a subtext of irony in its hollow heroics. Shostakovich followed with his Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad", a straightforward and widely performed symbol of wartime patriotism, then with the more ambiguous Eighth symphony. His increasing exploration of chamber music and its capacity for expressing more private utterances resulted in his again being condemned, along with fellow Soviets Prokofiev and Aram Khachaturian, in the cultural purge of 1948.

Shostakovich resorted to writing vacuous, optimistic trivia, holding back works such as the Violin concerto No. I that might annoy Stalin. Stalin's death in 1953 gradually ushered in a period of official relaxation: Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10 of that year has the air of a personal statement, with its ubiquitous use of a figure derived from letters of the composer's name, and its slow progression from darkness to guarded optimism. By the 1960s sufficient liberalization had occurred for Lady Macbeth to be performed again, and the Symphony No. 13, though ostensibly dealing with Nazi atrocities against the Jews, was widely interpreted as a condemnation of Stalin.

Shostakovich suffered from ill health during his last decade, and much of the lean music dating from that period is concerned with death. Of his Symphony No. 14 he said, "The entire symphony is my protest against death": a song cycle for soprano, bass, and string orchestra, it is a striking instance of possibly the greatest symphonist of his time redefining what the symphony can do.


Dmitri Shostakovich



Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)



Cellosonata in D min Op.40
Tamami Toda
Allegro non troppo
Concerto No.1
Natasja Douma
String quartet No 3
Oberon Quartet
Moderato con moto
Allegro non troppo
Adagio - attacca; Moderato - Adagio
Preludes, Op. 34
9. E Major
10. C-sharp Minor
11. B Major
12. G-sharp Minor
13. F-sharp Major
14. E-flat Minor
15. D-flat Major

Trio No.1 in c, Op. 8
Jeff Cobb-Piano; Eric Rosenquist-Violin; Eric Rosenquist-Viola

Trio No.2 in e, Op. 67
Jeff Cobb-Piano; Eric Rosenquist-Violin; BlasterValue-Cello

Allegro Con Brio


Pablo Picasso


















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