Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dmitry Shostakovich sets Sonnet 66

Here's a performance in English of Shostakovich's setting of Sonnet 66 (1940), included in a group of compositions innocently titled "Six Romances on Verses by English Poets." Of course this is not the text Shostakovich actually set to music; rather, he used the translation of the sonnet by Boris Pasternak (author of Dr. Zhivago and translator of several Shakespeare plays including Hamlet). Transliterated and Cyrillic Russian text available here.
You can listen to tantalizing bits of the Russian here (click on the "play" icon) or here
More info (in Russian) about this composition can be found on this site devoted to versions of Sonnet 66. They've even posted the sheet music.
In the middle of Russia's "Great Patriotic War," and three years into the depths of the Stalinist terror, what do you think was on Shostakovich's mind as he sat down to compose this piece?

No comments:

Post a Comment