Talk:24 Preludes and Fugues (Shostakovich)

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Nikolayeva's offer[edit]

Comment from Markalexander100 cut "Nikolayeva offered to play the whole cycle"; she offered, but only played one.

I'm not sure what the truth is here. In the notes to Hyperion's recording, Nikolayeva is quoted in 1974 recalling the 1950 competition - "It was a great occaision.... I was then a young girl, just out of the Conservatory but I had nerve and entered for the Competition and won first prize playing the whole of Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues. And if this then is what stimulated Shostakovich to write his own 24 Preludes and Fugues then I'm tremendously pleased."

However, elsewhere I have read a description of the competition stating that entrants had to play their choice of one of the Bach Preludes and Fugues plus another piano work, but Nikolayeva had prepared the whole set of the Well Tempered Clavier and offered to play any one at the judges choice. Certainly it seems unlikely that she would have had time to play the whole set.

Never-the-less the episode is worth mentioning as it is pretty clear that it was Nikolayeva's playing at the competition that was the trigger for Shostakovich to write his set.

Interesting quote- the two stories are hard to reconcile! In Elizabeth Wilson's book, Nikolaeva says explicitly that a) she offered to play them all; b) she only played one; c) the story that she played them all is incorrect. That seems more likely to me: I can easily imagine someone reading that she had programmed them all and concluding that she had played them all, but I can't imagine her denying playing them all if she had. How about "Inspired by the competition and Nikolayeva's playing"? I think that's undisputed. Markalexander100 01:24, 12 May 2004 (UTC)
My best guess would be that the quote from Nikolayeva above is a translation problem, and I would go with your suggestion on wording. Solipsist 07:24, 12 May 2004 (UTC)

After direct inspiration from the Baroque master[edit]

It is widely believed i.e. probably true that Shostakovich wrote these Preludes & Fugues after a visit to Leipzig in (East) Germany, the town where Bach was organist for much of his life. Shostakovich did undertake the writing of this set shortly after the visit itself, so it is entirely probable that the spirit of Bach was instilled in this great purveyor of Soviet angst. --- User:Edward Tambling

It is not just widely believed, it is pretty well documented; the history is also in the article (but could probably be expanded). Whether the finished work contains the spirit of Bach is perhaps more debatable. Several composers have written chromatic sets of related works, and each tends to put there own stamp on it (see Prelude (music)). Bach was without doubt the instigation here, but as you might expect, Shostakovich's pieces are considerably more dissonant than Bach's. Note also that Shostakovich followed Chopin, not Bach, in the progression of keys - I think it is safe to assume that Shostakovich was aware of Chopin's Preludes. Also Shostakovich's earlier set of 24 Preludes, op.34, was written in 1932, many years before the Leipzig competition in 1950. -- Solipsist 16:21, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Hummel's preludes do not use the Chopin key sequence. They start with C major, then C minor, G major, G minor, D major etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
His Op. 67 uses the Chopin key sequence... Here's the score --Cjeads1988 (talk) 04:43, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Extra Sections[edit]

Do we really need a section for every one of the prelude-fugue sets? The comments that are there are nice, but most of them are just headings. Perhaps we could put the ones with comments under "Points of Interest" (or some such thing)?Amphion 01:05, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I know what you mean. I guess its a guestion of good intentions running out of steam. Not many aticles on pieces of music have detailed descriptions of music. In this case the analogue is probably Preludes Op. 28 (Chopin), although the descriptions are much shorter there. -- Solipsist 06:22, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Also some of the longer descriptions look like uncredited program notes that mix facts with opinions (e.g. for the first fugue subject "bleak open 5th": "open 5th" = fact, "bleak" = opinion). Wikipendel 14 Apr 2015

Fair use rationale for Image:Shostakovich's Prelude XXI Bb Major (Allegro) - (Part of opus 87).ogg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 20:14, 26 November 2007 (UTC)