The Last Composer Who Mattered
He composed the musical soundtrack to the darkest pages of the 20th century, the pages where one reads of revolution, totalitarianism and war, hot and cold. His works range from the most banal to the most profound, sometimes in the same piece, and can turn from bitterest humor to deepest despair at the stroke of a bar line. A hero, a victim, a collaborator, a dissident, his place in his late, unlamented nation's history remains a topic of sharp debate. Regarded as an irrelevant relic by the avant-garde of his later years, his music mattered then, and matters still, to the broader culture in a way his critics' never have and never will. He was the last composer whose works went straight from their premieres into the standard repertoire—the last composer in the "canon." We'll mark the 107th anniversary of the birth of the great Dmitri Shostakovich with several of his works in Wednesday's NEPR classical music, including his own performance of the Piano Concerto No. 2 during the 9:00 hour, and the powerful Symphony No. 10 at 1:00. Along the way, please make your contribution to your source for Shostakovich and all the other great classical composers.