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Kainoa King Shostakovich Prof.

Myers 4/24/2012 In her book, Shostakovich a Life Remembered, Elizabteh Wilson retells the life of one of the most prolific composers of Russia. Through her narrative, she contextualizes the life and work of Dimitri Shostakovich in a rather turbulent moment in Russias history. In doing so, she sheds a light on his music that would eventually prove to be an inseparable part of his compositions. Shotaskovichs 8th String Quartet particularly captures Shostakovichs experience in the revolution burdened history of Russias political landscape and, in some ways, more than any of his other works, can be seen as is his most personal narrative. What is more interesting is the theme of death that is ever present and deeply engrained in the score of the work. Sara Reichardt in her book, Composing the Modern Subject: Four String Quartets by Dimitri Shostakovich, points out how death acts as a an entrancing figure representing Shostakovichs real life dance with death during a suicidal period of his life. She suggests that the work is limited by deaths trance and is supposed to represent Shostakovichs final plea of independence under the pressure to conform by an oppressive regime. However the music is ironically trapped in the trance and is therefore unable to expand beyond its own themes. Shostakovichs plea is a plea for freedom, of musical autonomy from the Russian regime. But his music is so saturated with his pleas, his music cannot expand beyond themthe very thing he is trying to escape. While Reichardt argues that death is an oppressive force in Shostakovichs string quartet, she fails to acknowledge how death may actually be the way to salvation.