Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shostakovich riffs Mahler

In essence, I hear and feel the Allegretto second movement of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony as Shostakovich doing a scherzo-like parody of a Mahlerian Austrian Ländler slow movement. If you listen to a good interpretation of this symphony, in this movement, you'll soon grasp this.

You should feel a more emphasized version of the rhythm of the Ländler, along with the speed of the Allegretto underscoring this more; that’s where the scherzo part of the interpretation comes in. Beware of overly romanticizing conductors, especially of the “old school,” who take this movement, or Shostakovich in general, too slow.

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