Some gentle music for Shostakovich's birthday
It's Shostakovich's 103rd birthday, so we've got to have musical commemoration.
It's also a drizzly Friday morning in Baltimore, so we could use a little lift. Oh yeah, and I somehow managed not to blog at all on Thursday -- despite having to participate that evening in a discussion on the joys of blogging with other local bloggers at a Baltimore Symphony pre-concert. That's, like, grounds for dismissal from the blogosphere, isn't it? I plead for mercy, even though it was all through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. I promise to be more diligent and faithful, and I'm hoping you'll be in a more forgiving mood if you get listen to something real, real purty.
Back to Shostakovich. No, I'm not going to offer something from his searing symphonies or concertos. This particular anniversary of the guy I consider the 20th century's Beethoven (want to make something of it??) calls for a warm and fuzzy choice, and possibly not as widely known -- the Romance from
his film score to a 1955 swashbuckler film called "The Gadfly."
I first heard it, as I suspect a lot of folks did, when it was used as the theme music for the gripping British TV series "Reilly, Ace of Spies" that came out in the early 1980s and was shown on PBS in the States.
I am sure that some folks would call this a send up of romantic music, not really a genuine attempt at it. But I find it irresistible and genuine. The piece seems to open up a disarmingly gentle, lyrical, less internally troubled side of Shostakovich. And, given the news headlines right now, from local terror plots to Iran's hidden nuclear facility, I figured gentle, lyrical and internally untroubled was just the ticket.
Here, then, a little birthday salute to a musical giant.