FIVE APHORISMS IN MEMORIAM
D. D. SHOSTAKOVICH,
TRIO OPUS 29
This work was composed for the radiophonic programme Alla Breve on France-Musiques (Radio-France) and broadcasted in this programme between 3rd and 7th September 2001.
It have been performed for the first time in public in Paris, 4th May 2002, during the first concert of the Trio Daphnis.
It is divided in 5 movements:
II. Toccata (extract: mp3 - 00:27 - 329 Kb.)
IV. Humoresque (extract: mp3 - 00:38 - 459 Kb.)
V. Passacaille (Passacaglia) (extract: mp3 - 00:45 - 550 Kb.)
Recording: Radio-France, 16 July 2001; Pierre-Emmanuel Sombret, violin, Bertrand Malmasson, cello, Pascal Mantin, piano.
This Trio is built on the "musical acronym" of Shostakovich DSCH (D, E flat, C, B natural, according to the German notation). The first 4 movements are acrostic, that is to say that each of them begins on one of these letters-notes: the 1st one, (Nocturne), begins on a D, the 2nd one (Toccata) on a E flat (S), the 3rd one (Elegie) on a C, the 4th one (Humoresque) on a B natural (H); The 5th movement (Passacaille) begins on a chord composed with the 4 notes at the same time, forming a C-minor-coloured harmony.
This "Shostakovian" acronym can be heard all during the work, sometimes evidently, sometimes in a more hidden way. The Trio is also composed on a twelve-tone scale, not treated in a serial or dodecaphonic manner but used, as Shostakovich did himself, for its specific expressive characteristics. Of course the DSCH motif is included in this twelve-tone scale.
The word Aphorisms used to name the 5 movements of this Trio is a reference to one of Shostakovich's first works, the Aphorisms opus 13 for piano, composed in 1927, where the 21 years old composer shows a particularly audacious and modern musical language and writing.
I have discovered this composer in the very late 70s, when he was completely unknown and discredited, above all in France. I had wanted to pay tribute to him in a symphony written in 1981-1983 (Symphony # 1 "DSCH" opus 4, see catalogue) and particularly influenced by his opera The Nose which I had just discovered. Nearly 20 years later, while I keep feeling the same admiration for this "Beethoven of the XXth century", in the musicologist Patrick Szernocicz's beautiful words, the situation about Shostakovich has changed a lot; his music has its place in the repertoire of the greatest orchestras and chamber ensembles in the world, he is at last considered as one of the most important composers of the XXth century and we can notice he has influenced a lot of contemporary composers. Above all, we can realize every time we hear one of his works the extraordinary expressive power of his music. (see the page about Shostakovich)
When in this symphony composed in 1983 I reacted to what I was just discovering and to the great shock it was for me, I wanted to pay tribute in this Trio more directly, more intimately to the man Shostakovich, to his complex and charming personality, to his courage and his force, to his creative power. The subject is not to describe any feeling or any aspect of character, even less to imitate, it is just to show through those 5 aphorisms the testimony of a great respect and indefectible admiration for a deeply moving musician.
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