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The track was first released in and became a hit in after being featured in the film "Stand By Me". The song was the theme from the movie Titanic and was the world's best selling single of He said "There are too many average and mediocre acts; it damages real talent getting airplay. It's just fodder. She worked at a U. She admitted to obtaining family photos, accessing email and voicemail and threatening his wife Talinda.
The following month, three of the group members were arrested and charged with "hooliganism" and were were held in custody until their trial began in late July when the three members were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred", and each was sentenced to two years in prison. American pianist and jazz singer Nina Simone performs October 18, in an unidentified location.
Simone, whose deep, raspy voice made her a unique jazz figure and later helped chronicle the civil rights movement, died in her sleep on April 21, , of natural causes after a long illness. She was Also, Today In: - The Beatles played three gigs in one day. Birthdays: Michael Ward, guitarist with The Wallflowers, is His famous Seventh Symphony, known as the Leningrad Symphony—which was written in Leningrad in while the city was more often than not in flames from the Nazi bombings—that Seventh Symphony lasts seventy-five minutes, requires an extra brass band, and makes the walls fall down.
Nothing shy about that. His latest symphony, number thirteen, lasts an hour, and includes a chorus which sings Yevtushenko's famous poem against anti-Semitism. So you see, Shostakovich has a lot to say, musically, and very often what he says is noble, original, and deeply moving. But this is a birthday party, and birthday parties should be gay and amusing, not necessarily noble and moving. Besides, you should know that Shostakovich is also world-famous for his marvelous sense of humor.
He has written some of the most downright funny music there is to be heard, and therefore I think it's especially proper for us to celebrate just his birthday in an atmosphere of fun.
So in just a moment, instead of a long serious work, we're going to play you one of his gayest and most amusing works—his Ninth Symphony. Although this symphony has five movements, it's a very short work, so we can play you all of it, and I think you're going to enjoy it a lot. This Ninth Symphony by Shostakovich is rather like a witty comedy in the theatre, where you are treated to one joke after another—puns, wisecracks, punchlines, surprises, twisteroos—but somehow all adding up to a work of art.
Now almost every symphony has some kind of joke in it: Even the most serious symphony by Beethoven or Mahler has at least one movement usually the scherzo which is humorous—maybe not out-and-out comical, but satirical, or bitter, or mocking, or something. But this whole symphony by Shostakovich is all humorous, every minute and every movement. It is all one big series of jokes. The first and foremost joke is the very fact that it is his Ninth Symphony.
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You may well ask what's so funny about that; well, I'll tell you. That number nine is a magic number with composers; ever since Beethoven it has come to mean the crowning final output of a symphonic composer. Beethoven's ninth, as you must know, is the huge symphonic monument of his whole lifetime—his last symphony. And since then, it's become almost a tradition for a composer to crown his life with his ninth symphony—if he can make it, of course. Mahler and Bruckner did make it.
They both wrote gigantic ninth symphonies of farewell. Brahms and Schumann never got beyond number four. Mendelssohn did reach five, and Tchaikovsky reached six. But if you can reach number nine, it had better be a whopper, worthy of that magic number. But not Shostakovich.
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You see, he had just written two whoppers, number seven and number eight—both very long, very serious, very patriotic symphonies, and both having grown out of his wartime emotions. But now it was , the war was over, and it was time for some comic relief from those two gigantic symphonies seven and eight. So out came number nine—a little number nine, and that in itself is a twisteroo. That doesn't sound like modern music, does it? It's more like Haydn, from two centuries ago. In fact, the whole first movement is written like an old-time classical symphony, as if by Haydn, with all the rules strictly observed.
That also doesn't sound very funny at first, does it, but it turns out to be, as soon as you realize that it's not by Haydn but by a modern composer named Shostakovich and that this eighteenth-century classical form is really just a spoof—a take-off of the old eighteenth-century form. And the more strictly it imitates Haydn, the funnier it is, as you begin to recognize your old pals Exposition, Development, and Recapitulation—remember those three hard words—three parts of the sonata form that we discussed in a program last year?
And he goes even further by dutifully repeating the exposition, just as he's supposed to, by putting the second theme in the dominant key, just as the old rules dictated, and having the recapitulation of it in the tonic key—all those formulas from the distant past, dug up again and made fun of. What makes it even funnier is that his gay little Haydnish tunes are treated to a modern facelifting, so that they're constantly surprising you into doubletakes with their twentieth-century sound.
For instance, that merry opening theme in E-flat major bounces along just like Haydn—until it suddenly stumbles on a loud wrong note:. In other words, Shostakovich is calling your special attention to this wrong note, like a clown who slips on a banana peel and laughs at himself before you do. But it's not only those mischievous wrong-note tunes of Shostakovich that make his humor, it's also his way of adding or skipping a beat here and there, where you least expect it, as in this little theme, which follows the one we just heard:.
Did you hear that extra beat? It's especially easy to hear in this tune, which goes in what is called a sequence—that is, the same phrase repeated at a higher pitch. So once you hear the first phrase,. But that's not what you get—almost, but not quite. What you do get is a second phrase that repeats the first at a higher pitch all right, but with one extra beat added—just enough to knock you off balance, like that tipsy clown:. Do you hear it now? I thought you would. Of course it's not the sort of joke that will make you shriek with laughter—I mean no musical joke is—but it's just enough of a twist to make you smile inside, and that's what a good musical joke should do.
This movement is full of twists like that: melodic surprises, rhythmic surprises, and especially harmonic surprises—that is, moments when you expect the harmony to go one way, and it goes somewhere else, completely unexpectedly. Like this spot a little later on in the movement, where the opening theme is repeated in the original key of E-flat major and must now switch to another key, in which the second theme is going to appear—namely the dominant, or B-flat major. But Shostakovich switches his key to the furthest harmonic point away from B-flat major, so that when B-flat does finally appear it's a shocker, right out of the blue.
Look how he does it: Here is the first theme, with its harmonic switch:. That's a mile away from where we're headed B-flat , but without so much as a blink of the eye, Shostakovich wrenches us into the required new key of B-flat:. You see? There was no preparation at all for this new key, or rather a misleading preparation, as if for some totally foreign key, and then—bang!
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B-flat major. Listen to the whole section now, and see how the harmony jerks you from key to key:. It's like a ride on some mad Coney Island machine where you're whipped and flung in fifty directions, always when you least expect it. But anyway, shaken up as we are, we have reached the dominant key of B-flat, and are now ready for the appearance of the second theme.
Here comes another twist. You may remember from our program on sonata form that the second theme of a symphonic movement should provide a contrast with the first theme, not only in key but also in feeling; that is, if the first theme is strong and manly, the second theme is likely to be sweet and feminine. Or vice versa. Anyway, in this case the first theme as you heard was playful and bouncy, so we are led to expect a second theme that will contrast by being sweet and smooth. And what do we get?
Anything but. Because out comes a jaunty little marching tune, whistled by the tiny, tinny piccolo:.
And so on. We've had another surprise. You see, most musical jokes are surprises, just as most other jokes are: You expect one thing and you get another, and somehow that tickles your funny bone. Nobody knows why. And this surprising, silly second theme is even sillier when it comes back in the recapitulation, because this time it's played not even by the piccolo but by one single solo violin, who, forcing out that squeaky little tune over the accompaniment of a whole brass section.
It's like Mickey Mouse leading a football cheer—that high, puny voice competing with a whole brass band. And speaking of the brass band, my favorite joke of the whole movement is made by that hefty trombone back there who introduces this tune each time it comes with those pompous two notes:.
As you'll see when we play the whole movement, all through this section of the recapitulation which leads up to the squeaky second theme, that trombone keeps plowing in with his two notes, always in the wrong places, as though he's skipped fifty bars of music by mistake and has come in too soon:. Poor man—he's absolutely lost! But he doesn't give up, he keeps trying, like Pluto in those same cartoons:. Thank goodness! He's made it at last. Now he's in the right place. And then the cartoon ends in a burst of pride and glory for everyone.
Naturally I can't tell you all the jokes in advance; I've got to leave some for you to discover yourselves. Which I hope you will, so that you get the maximum enjoyment out of this delightful first movement of the Ninth Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich. The second movement of the Ninth Symphony by Shostakovich doesn't seem to be a joke at all at first.
It's a quiet, sweet little waltz, actually rather sad.
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