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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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Personalities in Pairs

Personalities in Pairs

(p.53) 4 Personalities in Pairs
Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues

Mark Mazullo

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues, Opus 87, which illustrate Shostakovich's own possession of the extraordinary expressive-communicative gifts described by Lydia Ginzburg. In this cycle of miniatures, which nonetheless constitutes his largest single instrumental work, Shostakovich seems determined to catalogue a great diversity of emotions, expressions, and characters. Fully cognizant of his role as a national cultural hero—as both a Pushkin-like chronicler of the Russian character and a modernized artistic representative of the Soviet people—he draws deeply from his creative well to fashion a sweeping human panorama. Despite its intimacy, the score explodes with a sense of the communal. In doing so, it preserves the historical Russian notion of the “spiritual community,” which Svetlana Boym has described as “the mythical alternative to private life, advocated by 19th-century Slavophile philosophers and contemporary nationalists.”

Keywords:   expressive-communicative gifts, Opus 87, Lydia Ginzburg, national cultural hero, Pushkin-like chronicler, modernized artistic representative

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