Composing the Modern Subject: Four String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich

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Ashgate, 2008 - Music - 129 pages
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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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Contents

Cadences and Closure in the Sixth String
17
Codas Death and the Seventh String Quartet
43
The Ritual of Conjuration in Shostakovichs
69
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Sarah Reichardt is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Oklahoma.

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