4 December 2007

7th Symphony “Leningrad”, Shostakovich, To My Sister

No, sister. It’s not ugly. It’s just not pretty, either… It’s difficult to listen to. What the Americans would call “different”. See? It’s not so bad. Listen. I know it’s not what you’re used to, but this, bearing in mind the fact that it was written in the 1940s, is pretty tidy and organised. Listen…

Do you remember how it started? It started with something that sounded like a tight and tense chaos that seemed to go nowhere. With my weird and wonderful musical synesthesia, I can tell you it’s a no-good mix of brown and red triangles and squares, with lots of pointy edges everywhere. Where does all that go? The menacing basses and the annoying high pitches, plus the occasional gentle and compelling moments, all melt slowly into silence, almost. It’s not silence. If, after the birdie-piccolo and violin are done, you turn the volume way up loud, you will hear drums and pizzicato strings quietly announcing the next theme, as a warning or premonition; but you will only hear this if you listen very closely. It’s always the same. Most people only hear the big noises when things are actually happening, but that’s because they don’t pay attention to detail when these things are being subtly announced.

Then the flute is the first to come out with enough nerve to say things out loud. (Dear flutist sister, this, somehow, doesn’t surprise me…) It starts on its own, timidly and almost fearfully, but with a hint of happiness, because it’s saying what’s on its mind at last, loud and clear, for everyone to hear. Soon one by one everybody else joins in, so that what started as a shy try ends up in a noisy and full-blown triumph.

You will have noticed that there’s a place where the bassoon copies exactly what the oboe says. This is like real life, too, just like the whole thing. There will always be someone ready to mock and poke fun at everything, even the most serious matters.

Now the whole orchestra has plunged into the theme. It treads firmly and surely, yet you will surely hear troubles and worries in the background, no matter how successful the process has been. For it has been successful: it started with chaos, then a plaintive and lonely voice in the middle of nowhere, and see what it is now!

Now, sister, you don’t have to listen to all I say. You must make up your own opinion. But I tell you, this isn’t pretty. I told you before that it’s a picture of chaos, bombs and destruction. There are other things after what I’ve been talking about: the triumphant march ends abruptly and then another theme takes its place, and there are other movements, too… but it is not pretty, believe me. Shostakovich himself once said that “this music is about terror, slavery, moral decay”. Listen!

4 comments:

Raquel G P said...

jajaja! que divertido. Si, ya lo sabemos que no es bonita tu sinfonia, no te preocupes. XD asi que ahora, como estas afonica, escribes mas y pones los post de dos en dos? muy bien! XD

LSEP said...

Oye, va, no seas así… No te rías. Que si no, no vuelvo a escribir. Además, es verdad lo que digo.

Ei, els demés, defenseu-me… :P

Gem said...

Pos cla! Supongo que eso va para mi, porque soy la única hermana que tiene... y te digo yo, ¡que está muy bien escrito!
Aunque, como ya dije, en el momento que me preguntó a qué me sonaba la pieza, estaba estudiando, y además, a mi me cuesta expresar lo que siento. ¡Tendré que practicar más en este tema! ¡Gracias, sister, por este post!

Raquel G P said...

jajaja pobre Lara, si lo decia por hacer la puñeta... tu pásame el cd y ya hablaremos.. jajaja XD
pero tengo que decir que me he enamorado de algunos preludios y fugas para piano de shostakovich, asi que su sinfonia me tiene que gustar no? XD
petons y feliz navidad