Moscow: Muzgiz, 1934. 43 pp.: sheet music. 30x23 cm. In original constructivist wrappers. Small tears of the spine, soiling of the back cover, with a small fragment lost, central double-leaf detached from the block, otherwise very good and clean internally.
Signed by the composer on the title page: To Karel Reiner, with best wishes, from D. Shostakovich. November 22, 1960. Moscow. The Czech composer and pianist Karel Reiner (1910-1979) was the first to perform Shostakovich’s works in Prague in the 1930s. An important representative of the Czech avant-garde circle, Reiner was later accused of formalism. Being a leading figure in various Communist music organizations in 1960, Karel might have traveled to Moscow at that time and arranged a meeting with Shostakovich.
First edition. One of 1,500 copies. Extremely rare.
An early set of musical pieces created by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), one of the major composers of the 20th century. These musical compositions were written in a surprisingly short period - from December 30, 1932, to March 2, 1933.
After graduation in 1925, Shostakovich embarked on a dual career as a concert pianist and composer. He also worked on experimental performances, collaborating with the Meyerhold Theater and the Leningrad Theater of Working Youth (TRAM). His activity in the latter shielded him from the ideological attacks of the Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians. In particular, the RAPM criticized his satirical opera Nos [i.e. The Nose], based on the story by Nikolay Gogol. Along with Shostakovich’s Second Symphony, the piece was denounced for its modernist motifs. Yet, this was an early and relatively quiet period of the composer’s lifetime.
By the 1930s, Shostakovich had already gained fame worldwide for his First Symphony. In the following decades, the party and critics lauded and disfavored his opuses in rotation. In 1936, Stalin paid a rare visit to the Moscow opera for a performance of Shostakovich’s Ledi Makbet Mtsenskogo uyezda [i.e. Lady Macbeth of the Mcensk District]. Soon the Pravda [i.e. The Truth] newspaper published the editorial “Muddle Instead of Music”. Shortly, his Fourth Symphony (1936) was withdrawn and was not performed until the 1960s. The Fifth Symphony was more conservative and returned the favor to him.
Preludes. Op. 34 echoed modernist principles of The Nose, Lady Macbeth of the Mcensk District, a musical accompaniment for Mayakovsky’s Klop [i.e. Bedbug], and the composer’s earlier works. Now, these preludes are considered a Petersburg diary of the turn of the century and a treasure of musical images that Shostakovich used for later opuses. In the early 1950s, Dmitri composed another cycle of preludes and fugues, Op. 87.
This copy represents Shostakovich’s early work preserved in spite of the hardships of the Stalinist period and signed by the composer much later. In 1960, Dmitri became closer to the Communist Party and was appointed the General Secretary of the Composers’ Union.
No copies found in Worldcat.