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Not dreck. Maybe not to your taste, and it's not as popular as 5th and 10th...but not dreck.
Right. Even his 2nd and 3rd symphonies, which I concede are not among my favorite pieces of music, reflect a unique and significant time and place in human history in a dramatic and effective way. And imo that is a good way to describe a wide variety of music by Shostakovich -- dramatic and effective.
 

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Now the question is: is it possible to separate music - or any other aspect of our social life - from politics?
Not only is it possible, it is inevitable. The politics and ideology of an era eventually fade away, while its art remains. Perhaps in the case of the Soviet Union, not enough time has yet passed. Still, I commend to all the oft-quoted passage below:

Theories of abstract philosophy, systems of profound theology, have prevailed during one age: In a successive period, these have been universally exploded: Their absurdity has been detected: Other theories and systems have supplied their place, which again gave place to their successors: And nothing has been experienced more liable to the revolutions of chance and fashion than these pretended decisions of science. The case is not the same with the beauties of eloquence and poetry. Just expressions of passion and nature are sure, after a little time, to gain public applause, which they maintain for ever. ARISTOTLE, and PLATO, and EPICURUS, and DESCARTES, may successively yield to each other: But TERENCE and VIRGIL maintain an universal, undisputed empire over the minds of men. The abstract philosophy of CICERO has lost its credit: The vehemence of his oratory is still the object of our admiration.
 

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Now we have the benefit of distance from the time when the music was still quite new and listeners tended to be drawn to one or other musical ideology, I can listen to Bartok, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and even Schoenberg and hear music from all that is clearly of its time. Just as I can with Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Schubert, Bruckner and even Wagner. The differences in musical ideology and philosophy are interesting but just aspects of the different Romantics' or Modernists situations and personalities.
I'm not sure why this point needs to be made, and repeatedly, in a classical music forum, but, well said.
 

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What bothers me is people who present BS claims as "objective facts" and then won't admit their mistake when they're called out. Instead of just admitting that you made a claim you can't support you instead got this uncontroversial thread switched to a forum with less traffic on a bogus claim of impending political controversy. Where's the controversy? If you had any evidence for your claims you would have presented it.
Much as I dislike battles like this here, I have to concede I'm with you, and just as tired of this kind of thing. Like many musicians who take to writing, Craft had strong, passionately believed and expressed opinions. We can respect his musical achievements without agreeing to the letter with everything he wrote, much less accuse him of ulterior political motives. IMO, Knorf summed up Craft rather well in post 35 in this thread. What Craft is really saying about Shostakovich is what Chopin said about Liszt, Wagner about Mendelssohn, Schoenberg about Stravinsky, and Boulez about Schoenberg, all in the form of scathing put-downs: This person does not share my aesthetic values and vision in some significant way.

We could do without the political conspiracy theories.
 

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I just feel Craft is wrong on this, and not right in any respect.
Maybe so, but Craft isn't the only one to slam Shostakovich. In general, for most musicians we're better off listening to their music than reading their prose, especially their polemical prose. Even when the latter is interesting and insightful, it usually needs to be put in context. Neutrality and balance are far too much to ask for.
 

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Same here...Shostakovich's works don't really need the political/patriotic context ..the music speaks well for itself.
Which is why it has a major place in the standard repertoire worldwide, 50-95 years after the fact. Regardless of what he might have done differently but for Stalin and his cultural henchmen.
 

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The thing about a political context is that eventually it fades. The work must stand on its own devoid of context if there is any lasting merit and universality. Shostakovich's work has proven to be of much studier stuff than Stalinism.
Yes, at least with respect to the particular political circumstances he lived and worked under. The broader cultural context remains. That dry, sardonic wit, that stoic march through a lifetime of gray and icy Russian winters, staring at the bottom of an empty vodka glass, yet with an almost grim pride of their endless ability to resist and finally defeat those who would take this difficult existence away from them. You can see those things in the Russian character, and hear it in his music. It runs deeper than Stalin or communism, and doubtless will survive Putin and all of us, too.
 
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