I was in a
store, and heard an ad on a classical station for a Shostakovich festival put on
by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. “Celebrate Shostakovich,” said
the ad, “with spectacular performances.” Or something like that. “Celebrate” and
“spectacular” were certainly words the ad used. I pulled out my little notebook
and wrote them down.
ridiculous, of course, and almost offensive. Shostakovich isn’t celebratory or
spectacular. He’s bitter, wry, and painful. Yes, he’s dramatic, but not in
This is yet
another way in which classical music is drained of all meaning. Who cares what
Shostakovich really is? It’s classical music! It’s a celebration! It’s
big, grand, and colorful! Can anyone imagine talking about any other serious art this way?
“Celebrate Spielberg, with his spectacular Schindler’s List.” That would
just about be obscene.