Following David’s advice I’ll climb down from my theoretical ledge and rant a little bit, since I have no time to do anything more substantive. Every semester reaches some point where your time fractionalizes to smaller and smaller bits, where the number of small but urgent tasks exponentiates, and the ability to hold a single thought for more than 5 minutes (not to mention 5 seconds), becomes a sweet and fading memory.
In such times good energetic music is the way to go, I can use all the adrenaline I can get. Yes, this is turning out to be another one of those posts where I bore all the readers with some obscure classical music (“classical music” refers of course to the overwhelming majority of music ever made, a vast landscape of styles and personalities).
So, for the two of you still reading (I’m an optimist), here are a couple of pieces of Dmitry Shostakovich, one of the most original composers of the 20th century. You may find some of the tunes familiar – the dramatic style characteristic of some of his music is perfect for movies, and so he is widely used, even in Hollywood movies.
First, his first piano concerto, featuring the trumpet as well as the piano. This is the last movement, fast forward to the finale if you need to shatter your mental image of piano music as something delicate and flowery.
Then, not so energetic, but nonetheless one of his best known pieces (used for example in one of the worst movies ever to be made by a good director, but also more recently in “Wall-E”), the waltz from the first Jazz suite.
For a more quiet piece, you may want to seek out his piano quintet, which is absolutely beautiful, but in a very different way.
Back next week, hopefully with something more time-consuming.