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April 11, 2005

Shostakovich On Tragedy.

I'm sorry everyone for three posts in a day. My reading has just been too good today, and I need to post iit if for no other reason than to make sure I remember it. So here we go!!

"For some reason, people think that music must tell us only about the pinnacles of the human spirit, or at least about highly romantic villians. But there are very few heroes or villians. Most people are average, neither black nor white. They're gray. A dirty shade of gray.

"And its in that vague gray middle ground that the fundamental conflicts of our age take place. it's a huge ant hill in which we all crawl. In the majority o cases, our destinies are bad. We are treated harsly and cruelly. And as soon as someone crawls a little higher, the's ready to torture and humiliate others.

"That is the situation that needs watching, in my opinion. You must write about the majority of people and for the majority. And you must write the truth - then it can be called realistic art. Who needs the tragedies? There's an Ilf and Petrov story about a sick man who washes his foot before going to the doctor. When he gets there he notices that he washed the wrong one. Now, that's a real tragedy.

Oh beautiful.

Posted by pedalboy at April 11, 2005 1:18 AM | TrackBack

i like. especially since at the time (was that quote early or late in his life?) that whole realistic for the masses aspect of art was missing.


since he asks who needs the tragedies, i'll raise my hand high. and just because we aren't superheroes/villains in trenchcoats at wal-mart doesn't mean i don't want to feel like one. raise me up a few levels, or lower me, don't ALWAYS remind me that i live a grey existence.

Posted by: skaught at April 11, 2005 12:55 PM

Late in life - the memoirs were worked on around 1972... Actually a little before that but more in earnes in 72. Shostakovich died in 1975. When is the time period that you are talking about?

I like that you spell gray "grey" as well. And yes I agree with you that art should be able to lift you up where you can not naturally go. There is a certain amount of uncertainty in life that allows for the possibility that really tragic or wonderful things can actually happen. And so making art about it is not needless escapism. But I really do like the idea of the everyday tragedy, and giving it the due it deserves but seldom recieces.

Posted by: pedalboy at April 11, 2005 2:43 PM

oh. thought maybe it was from the 30's when he had his first troubles with stalin, making him suppress what was popular to the public.

but yeah, you definitely need both.

Posted by: skaught at April 11, 2005 4:32 PM
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