The First Impromptu is the Shortest

Russian composer Shostakovich giving the folks a show in 1951.

Shostakovich and I began playing the piano at about the same age, which is about the same age most children start playing the piano. Further evidence that the tenth year on Earth is a magical one. While I abandoned my efforts in the blink of a metronome, for Shostakovich his ability to play was a defining characteristic throughout his life.

The piano acted as a gateway, informing the world of Shostakovich’s other characteristics. Through String Quartet No. 12 and Symphony No. 7 in C major Leningrad he is recognized as an imaginative, optimistic, thoughtfully sombre man, residing on the slippery slope of history.

Turn down that racket, Dmitri! Read Soviet Union rag Pravda’s scathing 1936 review of Shostavokich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.

Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 12 performed by the Vertigo String Quartet

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 Leningrad (1/3) performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra

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