My non-textual artifact are two excerpts of me playing french horn from Dimitri Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony. Like many of the artists and musicians who lived under Stalin and the Soviet Union, Shostakovich was under intense scrutiny. He had to make his music in accordance inoffensive and acceptable to the Soviet regime.
After his first denouncement by Stalin for making music that was considered un-Soviet, Shostakovich premiered his 5th symphony titled “A Soviet Artist’s Response to Just Criticism,” which won him back the favor of Stalin and the Soviet Union.
While the fourth movement is uplifting and triumphant, the first three contain many sections of chaos and darkness. Hence, in the first excerpt I play a melody that “builds in intensity to a climax of apocalyptic intensity”, indicating a disapproval of the Soviet regime (Woods). While in the 2nd excerpt from the 4th movement, the tune is much more peaceful and agreeable.
Unfortunately, many of the musical motifs and nuances can not all be expressed from just the French Horn part, but hopefully these excerpts will invite you to give the symphony a complete listen. And ask yourself: Is this really a revolutionary attempt that criticizes the Soviet state?
Excerpt from Movement 1. Moderato
Except From Movement 4. Allegro non troppo
Woods, Kenneth “Dmitri Shostakovich-Symphony no. 5 in D minor opus 47.”, https://kennethwoods.net/blog1/2012/03/15/explore-the-score-shostakovich-symphony-no-5-in-d-minor/comment-page-1/, Mar. 15 2012.