Shostakovich, old believers and new minimalists

Ivashkin, Alexander V.. 2012. Shostakovich, old believers and new minimalists. In: Alexander V. Ivashkin and Andrew Kirkman, eds. Contemplating Shostakovich. Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 19-45. ISBN 978-1-4094-3937-0 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The chapter discusses ‘minimalist’ elements of Dmitri Shostakovich's style as embodiments/ expressions of traditional Russian expressive modes rooted in the idioms of old folk music and the music of the ‘old believers’

The collection volume comprises a selection of articles that, as a group, marks an important new stage in our understanding of Shostakovich and his working environment. The papers have in common a perspective that we believe offers the most fruitful route forward for Shostakovich studies today. All address aspects of the composer’s output in the context of his life and cultural milieu. They are thus illuminating from two directions: the uncovering of ‘outside’ stimuli allows us to perceive the motivations behind Shostakovich’s artistic choices, while at the same time the nature of those choices offers insights into the workings of the larger world—cultural, social, political—that he inhabited. Thus his often ostensibly quirky choices are revealed as responses—by turns sentimental, moving, sardonic and angry—to the particular conditions, with all their absurdities and contradictions, that he had to negotiate.

The composer emerging from the role of tortured loner of older narratives into that of the gregarious and engaged member of his society that, for better and worse, characterized the everyday reality of his life.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Centre for Russian Music
Research Office > REF2014


December 2012Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

01 Oct 2012 14:33

Last Modified:

19 Apr 2016 16:34


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