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Hector Berlioz: Bearer of Romanticism’s Torch: Part I

Bearer of Romanticism’s Torch: Part I

I’ve said a bit about Hector Berlioz now and then since I’ve been writing here. But in this and the next entry I hope to put my Berliozian thoughts together, to offer you the Big Picture as well as the details. Berlioz might actually be the high-point of romanticism. He believed, and his admirers echo him here, that he had taken up music at the point to which Beethoven had carried it, and continued … Continue Reading

Tyrants as Music Critics

Tyrants as Music Critics

Dmitri Shostakovich is one of a considerable group of ‘Soviet’ composers: those who continued and expanded upon the Russian musical tradition through the Soviet period, often at grave personal risk from the authorities, because said authorities were trying to force all art into their preferred propagandistic mode, ‘Socialist Realism.’ Shostakovich is often and deservedly mentioned in this connection in the same breath with Prokofiev and Khachaturian.

In 1934, Shostakovich premiered an opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk … Continue Reading