Composing the Modern Subject: Four String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich
Since the publication of Solomon Volkov's disputed memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich, the composer and his music has been subject to heated debate concerning how the musical meaning of his works can be understood in relationship to the composer's life within the Soviet State. While much ink has been spilled, very little work has attempted to define how Shostakovich's music has remained so arresting not only to those within the Soviet culture, but also to Western audiences - even though such audiences are often largely ignorant of the compositional context or even the biography of the composer.
This book offers a useful corrective: setting aside biographically grounded and traditional analytical modes of explication, Reichardt uncovers and explores the musical ambiguities of four of the composers middle string quartets, especially those ambiguities located in moments of rupture within the musical structure. The music is constantly collapsing, reversing, inverting and denying its own structural imperatives. Reichardt argues that such confrontation of the musical language with itself, though perhaps interpretable as Shostakovich's own unique version of double-speak, also poignantly articulates the fractured state of a more general form of modern subjectivity.
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Cadences and Closure in the Sixth String
Codas Death and the Seventh String Quartet
The Ritual of Conjuration in Shostakovichs
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anacrusis anapest Attali's begins cadence cadential figure chords chromaticism climax closure coda complete composed constructed reality constructed universe continual created Dance of Death Derrida discussion Dmitri Shostakovich drone DSCH motive Eighth Quartet Eighth String Quartet empty episteme Fanning fifth movement final measures final movement fourth movement fugue subject function gesture Gotterdammerung Hatten Hepokoski Hepokoski and Darcy Ibid interpreted Kramer Kuhn Lacanian Looking Awry lower instruments markedness marking McCreless melody modern subject musical discourse Musical Meaning Ninth Ninth String Quartet Object of Ideology objet petit octatonic octatonic scale octaves opening passacaglia piece pitch present proper name quarter notes quotations recapitulation rhetorical rigid designator Roseberry ruptures second movement second violin Seventh Quartet Seventh String Quartet Shostakovich in Dialogue Shostakovich's music shown in Example signifier sixteenth notes Sixth Quartet sonata form structure Sublime Object symbolic Symphony Taruskin texture theme third movement tonal tonic key triad viola violin Zizek