Lecture The poetics of word and music in "Five Satires (Pictures from the Past)" by Dmitrii Shostakovich, op. 109
Wed, September 6, 2006 • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM • Chicano Culture Room, Texas Union 4.206
This study undertakes a semiotic analysis of Shostakovich"s "Five Satires (Pictures from the Past)", op. 109, written in 1960. This vocal cycle consists of five romances for soprano and piano to brief satirical poems by Sasha Chernyj (from 1909). An analysis of the texts selected and music they are set to illustrates many recurring themes in Shostakovich"s life and work, including literary sensibility, sensitivity to the historical narrative of Russian culture, the satirical and grotesque, irony, humor, quotation (musical and textual), Aesopian language, philosemitism, and the context-dependence of textual interpretation. We develop a coherent interpretation of this work as a lightly-masked cri de coeur of exasperation with the plight of the Russian intelligentsia under the Soviet regime, both as a victim and naive collaborator.