In a time period of strict rules of keeping creativity contained, Dmitri Shostakovich wrote under the pressures of the government-imposed standards of Soviet art. However, Shostakovich used his undeniable musical talent to compose pieces with components of sadness and darkness that were, during this time period, challenging the pride of the state. Therefore, he and his music were officially shunned. He continued composing, and began releasing pieces to the public that were the “standard” of Soviet art. At this time, only Shostakovich knew that buried within his seemingly prideful compositions were notes and rhythms of hidden messages challenging the state. Because of his rebellious upbringing and despite negative reactions of the public,
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These codes were used to reflect inconsolable despair in Symphony Number Four, although it seemed to comply with Stalin’s artistic laws. However, some saw through his deceitful layers and the triumphant ending of his symphony rang hollow. After Shostakovich’s death, these suspicions were further evaluated and his musical codes were revealed. These codes were “ingeniously derived from the German translation of his name. In musical notation, S is E flat and H is B natural” (Classical FM 4). Although this code is seemingly undeniable in the current age of music, many still question what exactly Shostakovich was trying to convey if it was truly protesting the system he seemed to support (Tilson 1).
Shostakovich’s family placed importance on creating music. Shostakovich’s parents, Sofiya and Dmitri, were brought together by their mutual love for singing. Despite his family’s passion, Shostakovich was not immediately attracted to music. His parents did not force music upon him, and he grew to love playing and composing. He had an outstanding memory and astounded his mother with his skills on a daily basis. Shostakovich found a great interest in composition, and wished to expand further in musical knowledge through schooling. His school disciplinarian offered no encouragement towards Shostakovich and his musical endeavors (Fay 11). He was unable to satisfy schooling requirements for math, and was forced to leave schooling empty handed. He used this