Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Hard to believe, I know, that I could have reached this ripe old age and never (knowingly) listened to anything by Shostakovich. Maybe as the background to some BBC Four documentary some fragment or other went in one ear & out the other but nothing registered or made me want to find out more. & I know why - a conversation a long time ago in a train in the Paris Metro with someone who knew lots more about music than I, who made the statement that Shostakovich was "a first rate composer who wrote second rate music". What a silly way of categorising music (I'm thinking in retrospect) but at an impressionable age such pronouncements go deep. & so I found myself listening to that other S - Stravinsky - & avoiding DSCH. 

Time to make amends. This week I've discovered the two Piano Concertos (the Andante of the Second is especially beautiful) and - just now - the String Quartet everyone seems to talk about: number 8. (& yes, it's worth all the hype). On order are sets of the Symphonies & Quartets but they'll have to wait until the weekend. 

It's been raining since 10 o'clock this morning. I should have known that buying two garden tables on Tuesday would put the mockers on the weather. Never mind, it's the perfect excuse to stay indoors & listen to Shostakovich. 

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