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Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey

An eager response

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Some editorial thoughts requiring readers' follow-ups

Following a recent broadcast of Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony, I recollected the views of musical friends even twenty or so years ago, muttering ominously about a dull and morbid composer. A lengthy slow movement had them falling asleep or even tumbling off their seat -- that would have been a delight to witness -- under the mental inertia imposed by Shostakovich. By and large, he is now accepted, and by a majority, as typically Russian in much of his solemnity, and a truly great composer for a power of musical expansion sustaining a listener's attention. He leaves an indelible impression.

All significant composers have a way of orchestral scoring that is essentially their own : not to be found elsewhere, except in generalities. Shostakovich has this effect, certainly upon my ears, by the speed in which I return to certain passages. My mind eagerly responds and links back to a personal Shostakovich experience.

If readers have thoughts to add to these, one way or the other, please send them to Music & Vision.

Copyright © 15 November 2002 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK

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