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Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues$
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Mark Mazullo

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780300149432

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300149432.001.0001

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Shostakovich and the Challenges of Interpretation

Shostakovich and the Challenges of Interpretation

(p.3) 1 Shostakovich and the Challenges of Interpretation
Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues

Mark Mazullo

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the inferiority complex music suffers when it comes to comparisons with language, and to a lesser degree with the visual arts. Even while it flaunts its superior mystery, its inevitable abstraction, music cannot seem to shake off the gravitational pull that would forever bind it to its companion arts. Take, for instance, the eternal popularity of subtitles—Beethoven's “Moonlight” Sonata, Chopin's “Raindrop” Prelude, Dvorak's “New World” Symphony. Regardless of their provenance, whether it be popular convention, a publisher, or the composer, such labels steer this music's reception in multiple realms, from marketing to programming, teaching to criticism. As performers and listeners alike, people like to have words to help explain, and thus to interpret, instrumental music. If words are not available, people are happy to create their own images, something to keep focused in their mind's eye as they listen.

Keywords:   inferiority complex, music, language, visual arts, superior mystery, inevitable abstraction

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