Shostakovich s Music for Piano Solo
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Shostakovich's Music for Piano Solo


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189 pages

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The piano works of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975) are among the most treasured musical compositions of the 20th century. In this volume, pianist and Russian music scholar Sofia Moshevich provides detailed interpretive analyses of the ten major piano solo works by Shostakovich, carefully noting important stylistic details and specific ways to overcome the numerous musical and technical challenges presented by the music. Each piece is introduced with a brief historic and structural description, followed by an examination of such interpretive aspects as tempo, phrasing, dynamics, voice balance, pedaling, and fingering. This book will be an invaluable resource for students, pedagogues, and performers of Shostakovich's piano solos.

1. Early Works
Five Preludes
Three Fantastic Dances, op. 5
Piano Sonata no. 1, op. 12
Aphorisms, op. 13
Polka, op. 22a, from The Golden Age
2. Mature Works
Twenty-four Preludes, op. 34.
Piano Sonata No. 2, op. 61.
3. The Masterpiece
Twenty-four Preludes and Fugues, op. 87.
4. Works for Children
Children's Notebook, op. 69.
Dances of the Dolls
Selected Bibliography



Publié par
Date de parution 28 mai 2015
Nombre de lectures 31
EAN13 9780253014313
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

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Shostakovich s Music for Piano Solo
Malcolm Hamrick Brown, founding editor
Shostakovich s Music for Piano Solo
Interpretation and Performance
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
Telephone 800-842-6796
Fax 812-855-7931
2015 by Sofia Moshevich
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.480-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Moshevich, Sofia.
Shostakovich s music for piano solo : interpretation and performance / Sofia Moshevich.
pages cm. - (Russian music studies)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-253-01422-1 (cl : alk. paper) - ISBN 978-0-253-01431-3 (eb) 1. Shostakovich, Dmitrii Dmitrievich, 1906-1975. Piano music. 2. Piano music-History and criticism. I. Title.
ML410.S53M68 2015
1 2 3 4 5 20 19 18 17 16 15
1. Early Works
Five Preludes
Three Fantastic Dances, op. 5
Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 12
Aphorisms , op. 13
Polka , op. 22a, from the ballet The Golden Age
2. Mature Works
Twenty-Four Preludes, op. 34
Piano Sonata No. 2, op. 61
3. The Masterpiece
Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues, op. 87
4. Works for Children
Children s Notebook , op. 69
Dances of the Dolls 198
Selected Bibliography
I am extremely grateful to Malcolm Hamrick Brown, professor emeritus of music at Indiana University, who suggested the idea of this book and encouraged my work on it. Many thanks go to Irina Antonovna Shostakovich for her permission to use some fragments of Dmitri Shostakovich s autographs. Without the assistance of my friends Emmanuel Utwiller, his wife, Fran oise, and Tatiana Maximov of Association Internationale Dimitri Chostakovitch in Paris, many of the important documents and autographs would have been unavailable. Thank you all for your generous help!
In Toronto, Ruth Pincoe edited the manuscript and helped me to prepare it for submission to the publisher. I deeply value both her work and her friendship. Michael Mishra, professor of music at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, made a great contribution by reading the manuscript, correcting its style, and adding numerous valuable details. For his tireless work on many musical examples I thank Valentin Vetchinkin of Natali Products, Toronto. My sincere appreciation goes to David Farell of Metropolitan State University of Denver for his painstaking work as engraver.
Tilya, Arik, Tali, and Jonathan: you are my life s love and best reward.
Shostakovich s Music for Piano Solo
The piano works of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75) are among the most precious musical treasures of the twentieth century. Diverse and exciting, they have become an indispensable part of the piano repertoire and are to be found in the repertoire lists of international piano competitions and the syllabi of music schools around the world. The present book is the first English-language publication to offer a comprehensive examination of Shostakovich s piano music from an interpretation and pedagogical standpoint.
A gifted pianist, Shostakovich wrote for the instrument from his earliest years. Though the style of his early piano works (Eight Preludes, op. 2, and Three Fantastic Dances) was somewhat traditionally romantic, his next compositions (the Piano Sonata No. 1 and Aphorisms ) attempted to fuse the contemporary language of modernist music with a more personal mode of expression. After a break in his performance career (from 1930 to 1933), Shostakovich returned to the concert platform with the Twenty-Four Preludes, op. 34, and the Piano Concerto No. 1, works in which his mature style-sharply individualistic and controversial-would begin to emerge.
Unlike other composer-pianists, Shostakovich wrote for the piano relatively sporadically. His next important work, the Piano Sonata No. 2, was completed in 1943, ten years after the concerto. His ultimate piano masterpiece, the Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues, op. 87, was composed in 1950 and 1951. The last two piano works, the Concertino for Two Pianos and the Piano Concerto No. 2, were written in 1956 and 1958, respectively. Two wonderful contributions for children should not be forgotten: Children s Notebook , written in 1945, and Dances of the Dolls , a piano arrangement of some of Shostakovich s earlier stage music, made in 1952.
Shostakovich was an active pianist throughout his life. 1 He performed publicly as a soloist until 1958 and as an ensemble player until 1966, when disease incapacitated his hands. Fortunately for us, between 1946 and 1958, Shostakovich recorded a number of his own works, including the Three Fantastic Dances, the Polka from The Golden Age, Children s Notebook , both concertos, ten of the op. 34 Preludes, and seventeen of the op. 87 Preludes and Fugues. Some were recorded twice. Since Shostakovich disliked talking or writing about his music in general, let alone discussing specific problems of interpretation, these recordings remain the primary source of our understanding of Shostakovich s performance style.
It is important for performers to note Shostakovich s sometimes idiosyncratic usage of certain musical terms. For example, espressivo indicates not just a higher level of intensity but also, at times, a slightly louder dynamic, such as at the start of the Prelude in G Minor, op. 34, where piano espressivo in m. 9 contrasts with piano in m. 2. Where espressivo is marked for an individual voice, it usually indicates that this voice should assume a leading role (similar to Bach s solo marking). In the manuscript of the A-Major Prelude, op. 34, for example, the soprano is marked espr . in mm. 6, 10, and 13, the bass in mm. 1 and 17.
Shostakovich indicates marcato for a resolute non legato articulation (see the Prelude in B-flat Minor, op. 34, m. 2) and marcatissimo for a strong staccato (see the Prelude in D-flat Major, op. 87). His tenuto indications, such as in m. 2 of the Prelude in E-flat Minor, op. 87, imply a somewhat detached, often declamatory articulation, which is usually supported by the use of the damper pedal.
As I wrote in an earlier survey of Shostakovich s piano career, One criticism often leveled against Shostakovich s playing concerned his apparent penchant for swift, sometimes hectic, tempos. What the recordings show, however, is that this tendency was generally confined to music at the faster end of the tempo spectrum. By contrast, slower movements ( largo, adagio, lento, andante , or moderato ) tended to be played slower than marked. 2 Ritenutos often occur at the end of a section, for example, the Fugue in G Minor, op. 87, whereas accelerandos develop with the growing intensification toward a work s culmination, as is evident in the Fugue in D Minor, op. 87. Shostakovich s tempo fluctuations are generally not marked in the score, although occasionally a fluctuation will be made that appears in the manuscript but not in the published editions, for example, the Fugue in G Minor, op. 87.
Grigoriy Ginzburg makes an important observation: Performers who do not observe Shostakovich s pedal indications damage the composition no less than if they play wrong notes or different articulation. 3 Shostakovich s manuscripts testify that he tried to express his pedalings as accurately as possible. He sometimes changed and clarified initial pedal marks in the manuscript (see mm. 1, 4, and 7 of the Prelude in C-sharp Minor, op. 34), occasionally even changing the pedaling for the printed version (see the Prelude in E-flat Minor, op. 34, mm. 23-24). Unfortunately, not all of these markings have been preserved in the published editions. For example, although Shostakovich drew a circle around every release sign in the Piano Sonata No. 2, many of his indications were misplaced or missed altogether, particularly in the second and third movements. No wonder, in his next large piano work, the Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues, op. 87, he marked a pedal only once-in m. 49 of the Prelude in C-sharp Minor!
In order to allow English-speaking readers access to important Russian sources, I have translated numerous excerpts from the writings of significant Russian pianists and pedagogues such as Tatiana Nikolayeva, Yevgeniy Liberman, Maria Greenberg, and Regina Horowitz. Comments by other well-known Western and Russian musicians, including Joseph Banowetz, Raymond Clarke, Viktor Delson, Robert Dumm, Grigoriy Ginzburg, Heinrich Neuhaus, Ronald Stevenson, Vsevolod Zaderatskiy, and Andr Watts, are also provided. I have also consulted facsimile copies of the manuscripts of the two piano sonatas, the Twenty-Four Preludes, op. 34, and the Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues, op. 87, all housed at the Centre Chostakovitch in Paris, and have reported numerous discrepancies between the autographs of these works and the various published editions. There is still no urtext edition of Shostakovich s piano works. 4 Most of them were first published by Muzgiz. 5 The errors and misprints made in the first editions were usually reprinted in numerous subsequent editions without corrections. The Soviet Collected Works edition corrected many such mistakes but failed to achieve the standard of accuracy for an academic edition. 6 Most of the DSCH paperback volumes that are currently available are reprints of the first editions with, unfortunately, some additional errors.
My intention is to provide a practical resource for those who perform, teach, or study Shostakovich s solo piano compositions. For each work, there is a brief description of its historical background, together with suggestions regarding edition, followed by detailed interpretive analyses from the point of view of a performer or a teacher. I believe that this book will be helpful for any musician who takes the journey into the amazing world of Shostakovich s piano music.
1 Early Works
Five Preludes composed 1919-21; no recording by Shostakovich
Existing information on the Five Preludes is scarce. Although first published in 1966 (Muzgiz no. 3184), these preludes are among Shostakovich s earliest creations. They originally belonged to the still unpublished set of Eight Preludes, op. 2, composed between the autumn of 1919 and the spring of 1920, each carrying a dedication to a friend or relative. 1
Among Shostakovich s fellow composition students were two gifted musicians, Georgiy Klements and Pavel Feldt. 2 When the three young composers decided to combine their talents to create a cycle of twenty-four preludes for piano, Shostakovich contributed five selections from his op. 2 (the preludes in A minor, G major, E minor, and F minor and one of the two in D-flat major). The project was eventually aborted. 3 However, Shostakovich s five contributions were published in 1966 (the year of his sixtieth birthday) under the title Five Preludes.
Though clearly the work of an immature composer, the Five Preludes exhibit features that would become trademarks of his mature piano style: a transparent and laconic texture (nos. 1, 2, 4, 5), counterpoint (nos. 1, 2, 3, 5), ostinato (nos. 1, 2, 3), and high registers (no. 1). They are short, attractive pieces of average difficulty. No. 3 is the most demanding; nos. 1 and 5 are the easiest.
Prelude in A Minor, no. 1
dedicated to the composer s sister Maria Shostakovich
Allegro moderato e scherzando
three-part form with coda
section A: mm. 1-8
section B: mm. 9-14
section A: mm. 15-24
coda: mm. 25-30
The elegance and transparency of this prelude are reminiscent of Grieg s piano miniatures (for example, the Elves Dance, op. 12, no. 6), many of which were in the repertoire of the young Shostakovich. The predominantly high register-A below middle C being the lowest note-gives the prelude something of a puppet dance or music-box flavor, notwithstanding the gentle contrapuntal touch and occasional harmonic piquancy, for example, the last sixteenth note in m. 11.
The tempo must not be overly fast (the marking is allegro moderato ), but fast enough to bring out the e scherzando character of the music. A speed within the range of = 68-75 will accommodate both elements of Shostakovich s tempo marking. Avoid the temptation to accelerate, particularly going into downbeats.
Give the main melody (LH, mm. 1-8) a clearly articulated crisp staccato within the p - mp range. Observe the accents, but do not allow them to interrupt the flow; this eight-measure phrase should evolve in a single breath. Maintain an even pp dynamic for the right-hand ostinato, and avoid making accents together with the left hand. Play these repeated thirds sempre staccatissimo with a loose wrist, never allowing your fingers to leave the keys. In mm. 9-12, the melody shifts to the right hand. Students who find m. 12 difficult should practice the broken octaves alone to perfect the forearm rotation and then add the thirds.
In mm. 13-14, following the prelude s climax, pay close attention to the details of the articulation, including the teasing syncopated accents in the right-hand chords on the second and last sixteenth notes of mm. 13-14. The presence of the right-hand contrapuntal lines in mm. 15-16 and 21-22 makes the shaping of the left-hand melody through mm. 15-22 problematic. In these measures, where the right hand plays both the upper voice and the accompanying thirds, try to keep the thirds as soft as possible to allow room for both leading melodies. In order to balance the voices, use the arm weight to support the weaker fingers of the right-hand upper voice and only the fingers weight to play the thirds. The right-hand theme must ring out clearly, whether it is above (mm. 21-22), within (m. 23, fourth eighth note), or below (m. 24) the accompanying thirds. The pp at m. 25 must appear suddenly (the use of una corda is possible). Throughout the prelude, the damper pedal should be used only sparingly to emphasize accents.
Prelude in G Major, no. 2
dedicated to the composer s sister Maria Shostakovich
three-part form
section A: mm. 1-9 (beat 1)
section B: mm. 9-15
section A: mm. 15-21
One of the formative influences on Shostakovich s piano style was the repertoire of symphonic transcriptions that he played as a youth. This prelude is an early example of this influence. It is a colorful tone picture in G Mixolydian, yet the unstoppable bass tremolo that underpins the work has an orchestral quality about it. Similar orchestral tremolos can be found in the later piano works, such as the Preludes in G Major, no. 3, and E-flat Minor, no. 14, of op. 34 (1933), the Prelude in E-flat Minor, op. 87, no. 14 (1950), and the Concertino for Two Pianos, op. 94 (1953).
A flowing tempo in the range of = 50-60 is suitable. In the first ten measures, the musical fabric consists of three layers: the leading melody on top, the interior ostinato chords (which form their own melody), and the tremolo tonic pedal in the bass. In m. 11, Shostakovich adds a fourth layer, the A pedal above the bass tremolo. It is worthwhile to practice different combinations of two layers before putting them all together. Passages in which the left hand plays two layers require special attention and must be practiced separately. The relentless tremolo-think in two groups of three sixteenth notes per quarter-must be soft and its rhythm even.
This task is further complicated by the leaps between the solid upper chords and the first note of the tremolo. Although the m.g . ( main gauche , LH) instruction for the interior chords does not appear until the second beat of m. 9, it is advisable that the left hand take over the chords from the third beat of m. 8. (In this case, the left-hand tremolo would have to be performed without its first sixteenth note, just as it is three beats later.) Another possibility is to roll the wide chords with the right hand.
Observe the p dolcissimo indication (m. 1), but in order to unite the B-A-E-B motive into a smooth line, make a slight crescendo toward the E followed by a diminuendo to the last B. From the second beat of m. 3, where the soprano takes the lead, the melodic line must be smooth, with no accents on the notes played simultaneously with the interior chords. Shape a gradual crescendo from m. 8, avoiding a premature climax. The culmination of the prelude is reached at the second beat of m. 14, which requires strongly accented bell-like chords. In preparation for the recapitulation, the f should subside from beat 4 of m. 14 to accommodate the diminuendo and p on the second beat of m. 15.
The damper pedal is indispensable throughout. In mm. 1-10, change the pedal according to the interior chords. From m. 11, however, the pedal can be held for longer stretches to support the intensifying dynamics and harmonic density. For example, in mm. 11-12, the pedal can be changed on beats 1-2 and then held through beat 4.
Aim for an enchanting pianissimo tone color through mm. 18-19, and allow m. 19 to sound on one pedal with partial changes on beats 3-4. Use a single pedal through m. 20 as well. In m. 21, ensure that the bass G is included in the long pedaled chord. The una corda pedal can be applied from the second beat of m. 18 to the end of the piece.
Prelude in E Minor, no. 3
Allegro moderato
three-part form
section A: mm. 1-18
section B: mm. 18-29
section A: mm. 29-43
This robust, heroic prelude emanates resolute power and romantic passion. It resembles piano works by Alexander Scriabin and Anatoliy Liadov yet demonstrates the strong inclination to polyphonic textures so typical of Shostakovich s later piano compositions. 4
This allegro moderato marking suggests a lively yet not rushed tempo (about = 200). The articulation is predominantly staccato, spiced with numerous dramatic accents. It is vital to sustain the rhythmic energy from beginning to end. Resist the temptation to introduce excessive rubato or lengthening of beats that might shift the meter toward .
The two-measure principal motive (for example, from the opening upbeat to the third eighth note of m. 2) consists of two groups of five eighth notes. Perform this motive as a single undivided unit by building a crescendo toward the dynamic high point on the first beat of m. 2. Shape a similar but brighter crescendo from the fourth eighth note of m. 4 to the first beat of m. 6. The third crescendo, rising through m. 9 to the first f in m. 10, should be even stronger.
To avoid heaviness through mm. 1-10, keep the left hand a little softer than the right hand. Note that all the accent markings through mm. 1-12 are in the right hand only. 5 Reduce the volume from the fourth beat of m. 11 in order to build the most powerful crescendo of the first section toward the f on the second eighth note of m. 18. This culmination is enhanced by accents in both hands through mm. 14-17. Use the damper pedal often, yet judiciously. Example 1.1 illustrates one possible pedaling pattern for mm. 1-11.
The middle section (mm. 18-29) opens with a short canon characterized by playful accents. A softer volume and drier (less pedaled) sonority will bring the necessary contrast. Begin the crescendo e molto from m. 22 toward the accented triple Bs in m. 25. From the fourth beat of m. 25, change the pedal with each harmony and give the top left-hand voice a piercing tone. (The wide left-hand chords on the first beat of mm. 26-27 can be quickly rolled.) Shape a spectacular crescendo-accelerando through m. 28 toward the third beat of m. 29. Make sure that the pedal changes on the first two beats of m. 29 are clean and that one pedal is held through the second and third beats of the measure, so that the B prolonged by the fermata receives the necessary harmonic support.
The main theme reappears in the left hand (from the fourth beat of m. 29) and then in the right hand (from the fourth beat of m. 30). Although a bright volume should be maintained throughout mm. 29-36, a sudden piano in m. 37 is effective at the beginning of the final crescendo. Continue the dynamic swelling through mm. 41-42 toward the triumphant fff ending. The awkward finger crossing in m. 41 can be eliminated with a simple rearrangement of the notes, as illustrated in example 1.2 .
Prelude in D-flat Major, no. 4
dedicated to Natasha Kub
three-part form with codetta
section A: Moderato, mm. 1-8
section B: Andante amoroso, mm. 8-10
section A: Moderato, mm. 10-17
codetta: Andante cantabile, m. 18

Example 1.1. Prelude in E Minor, no. 3, mm. 1-11, pedaling.

Example 1.2. Prelude in E Minor, no. 3, mm. 40-41, fingering and text distribution.
Despite its naive gestures and melodic patchwork, this brief prelude is quite remarkable for its psychological diversity, rhythmic flexibility, and harmonic freshness. 6 Harmonically unstable, the opening theme (mm. 1-8) sets the stage, rather like an orchestral introduction to an operatic aria. Indeed, what follows is an attempt at a romantic aria ( andante amoroso ), though it is cut short after only a few notes by a nervous recitative (m. 9). When the opening returns in m. 10, it is followed first by the recitative, but the aria-or three notes of it-reappears in the last measure. This eighteen-measure prelude contains four tempo indications. For the moderato passages, choose a flowing yet calm pace (about = 66-72) that will allow an unrushed execution of the thirty-second-note figures. The andante amoroso section should be significantly slower (about = 40). 7
For a warmer tone quality, use sporadic touches of the damper pedal through the first five measures, but change the pedal with each harmony through mm. 6-8. Use the una corda pedal as marked in mm. 1-2 and 4-7 to create a subtle contrast. A delicate rubato is natural in this section. Shape a long line from m. 3 toward m. 8, though one that incorporates the diminuendo and ritenuto in m. 5.
The color of the harp-like D-flat chord on the first beat of m. 8 must be a strong contrast to the preceding measures. Use a combination of a ppp dynamic with the damper pedal. Give the tenuto soprano melody in mm. 8-9 a warm and full sound, and shape it to create an expressive crescendo toward the upper C on the third eighth note of m. 9. Make sure that the tied half-note chord that anchors the recitative is heard not only through m. 9 but also through the fermata in m. 10.
The dynamic swelling indicated by the crescendo hairpin in m. 12 must be neither missed nor exaggerated. Note that, unlike m. 2, there is no fermata over the rest at the end of the measure. In m. 15, apply the damper pedal through the first three beats, including the fermata. (Although this measure is marked pp , there is no need for the una corda pedal.) Welcome the return of the aria in m. 18 with a lush cantabile tone, and take care not to force the sound; this final gesture is marked mf , not f . Use one pedal for the entire measure, shaping a nice diminuendo with no ritenuto.
Prelude in F Minor, no. 5
dedicated to Natasha Kub
three-part form
section A: mm. 1-8
section B: mm. 9-16
section A: mm. 17-24
The folk-like theme of this prelude would become one of Shostakovich s favorite melodies. He used it in 1951 in the sixth movement ( The Ninth of January ) of his Ten Poems on Texts by Revolutionary Poets , op. 88, and again in 1957 in the second movement (also entitled The Ninth of January ) of the Symphony No. 11. Despite its seeming simplicity, this exquisite prelude represents an early example of Shostakovich s harmonic and contrapuntal craft, foreshadowing his later masterpieces, the Twenty-Four Preludes, op. 34, and the Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues, op. 87.

Example 1.3. Prelude in F Minor, no. 5, mm. 17-20, fingering and text distribution.
An unhurried tempo that nevertheless captures the natural flow of the music can be found within the range of . = 40-50. Since the texture is rich in contrapuntal imitation, it is initially best to practice the two upper (RH) voices and the two lower (LH) voices separately. Choose fingering that allows as much legato as possible. Example 1.3 illustrates one possible fingering and text distribution between the hands in mm. 17-20.
Although the soprano is the leading voice through mm. 1-8, make sure that the delightful imitations in m. 3 (alto and tenor), m. 6 (alto), and m. 7 (bass) sound clearly. Sustain through the entire phrase, with no conspicuous caesura after the second and fourth measures. The accented Gs in m. 4 and B-flats in m. 6 require a deep and eloquent-not harsh-tone. In m. 8, shape a seamless diminuendo, and take care to maintain an even legato in the E-F tenor motive (play it with the right hand). Allow time to separate the end of m. 8 from the beginning of m. 9.
Note the canonic imitations in mm. 9-10 (alto and soprano), m. 11 (beat 4) to m. 13 (bass and tenor), and m. 16 (tenor). These imitations, marked tenuto , must be set in relief. The dramatic intensity must grow through mm. 9-12, along with an incessant crescendo. At the central culmination (m. 13), the volume should reach mezzo forte , and the soprano accents on the first and fourth beats should be observed. After the volume subsides through mm. 14-15, the dynamic indications in m. 16- poco cresc . and dim .-apply mainly to the tenor.
The beginning of the last section, mm. 17-20, is similar to the opening, mm. 1-4. In mm. 17-18, however, the lower register and the tenuto markings in the upper voices suggest a denser tone color, which will also facilitate a more effective diminuendo through mm. 21-24. The prelude ends with a low tonic pedal sustained through these measures. Hold one pedal in mm. 21-23, and give slightly more weight to the top voices played by each hand. (The una corda pedal can also be applied through these measures.) Listen carefully for the fading sound of the low F while shaping a gradual diminuendo in the upper layers. Begin to slow the tempo at m. 22, and release the damper pedal on the first beat of m. 24. Allow the bass F to be heard alone, ending the prelude on this faint and shadowy sound.
Three Fantastic Dances, op. 5 composed 1920-22; recorded 26 May 1947 (Prague) and 30 May 1958 (Paris)
In 1919, the thirteen-year-old Shostakovich was accepted to the piano and composition departments at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. 8 Dedicated to his good friend Josef Shvarts, a fellow student in Leonid Nikolayev s piano course, the Three Fantastic Dances were among the first products of Shostakovich s conservatory years. 9 The first dance was completed on 4 December 1920, and the other two were finished in 1922. 10 Shostakovich successfully performed the dances a number of times in St. Petersburg, but the official premiere in Moscow, on 20 March 1925, was reportedly a fiasco. Initially, the work was declined for publication, but in February 1926, the dances were accepted by Muzgiz and released that same year, becoming Shostakovich s first published work.
Both the autograph and the first edition lack metronome and pedal markings. We do not know what role, if any, Shostakovich had in the preparation of later editions; they certainly appear to have been made without reference to the composer s own recordings. At present there is no urtext. The most reliable edition is in vol. 39 of the Collected Works (1983), edited by Tatiana Nikolayeva. The autograph was not available for the present research; all references regarding the autograph are taken from a secondary source, namely, Nikolayeva s comments in the Collected Works score. 11
The Three Fantastic Dances possess a distinctive style. According to Eric Roseberry, one notes the composer s skill as a miniaturist-the epigrammatic resourcefulness and economy, the cunning harmonic twists, the exploitation of piano sonority within a small time scale. . . . [They] are among Shostakovich s most popular pieces and still retain their aphoristic charm and capricious fragrance. 12 All three dances offer excellent teaching material for the intermediate student.
Fantastic Dance in C Major, op. 5, no. 1
three-part form with coda
section A: mm. 1-8
section B: mm. 8-20
section A: mm. 21-28
coda: mm. 29-32
This scherzo-like dance is a ballet scene full of capricious rhythms, unusual harmonic progressions, and eccentric gestures. In some senses, there appears to be a debt to Scriabin-certain rhythmic and harmonic formulas, even the Scriabin chord. 13 Yet, as Eric Roseberry writes, the puckish world of [this dance] is far removed from the languor and sensuousness of Scriabin, whose aesthetic remained wholly repugnant to Shostakovich. 14

Example 1.4. Fantastic Dance in C Major, op. 5, no. 1, mm. 9-11, pedaling.
Performers often give this lively and playful dance a lethargic and sentimental interpretation, but Shostakovich s recordings ( = 168 in 1947 and = 160 in 1958) suggest a much quicker tempo than those indicated in the various published editions. 15 Even if his recordings are considered exceedingly fast, the tempo should not be slower than = 140-150. The recordings also demonstrate the theatrical boldness of his contrasts in dynamics, articulation, and pedaling. For example, mm. 1-2, 5-6, and 21-22 are played senza pedale, in contrast to the lavish onepedal-per-measure pattern in mm. 3, 7, and 23. There is a similar contrast between m. 13, played senza pedale, and m. 14, where the pedal is released on the eighth rest of beat 3. Interestingly, in mm. 9 and 11, the pedal is depressed on beat 4 and released during the first eighth note of the next measure (see example 1.4 ).
The opening measure should be as crisp and rhythmically precise as possible-note the initial p leggiero marking-with the rests absolutely clear. Follow the indicated hairpins that shape mm. 1-2 into one motive. Although a gliding legato is needed for the right hand of m. 3 (with each group fingered 1-2-3-5), every note must be audible. Use non legato articulation in mm. 9 and 11 and other similar spots; in the autograph, the right-hand eighth notes in m. 9 have staccato dots. In mm. 10 and 12, the thirty-second notes must be rhythmically accurate and the rests unpedaled and clear. Give the Scriabin chord on the last beat of mm. 10 and 12 expressive emphasis and ample time.
The buildup toward the climax (mm. 13-19) must be relentless and intense. Play mm. 13 and 15 non legato, and do not use the pedal to join the chords-these measures certainly have a dry sound in both of Shostakovich s recordings. (In the autograph in m. 13, there is a p marking and a crescendo hairpin, and in m. 15 there is a mp marking and a crescendo hairpin. ) To secure speedy and clean leaps in mm. 14 and 16-18, it is useful to practice the right hand in solid chords. Lean your body toward the right side of the keyboard for the ascending passages in mm. 17-18 and especially for the octaves in m. 19-marked ff in the autograph. Note that m. 19 is senza pedale in both of Shostakovich s recordings. Similarly, m. 29 should be played pp with no damper pedal, although the una corda pedal may be used if necessary. Make the final measures not only spooky but also witty and humorous; avoid the temptation to add a ritenuto in m. 32.
Fantastic Dance in G Major, op. 5, no. 2
three-part form
section A: mm. 1-16
section B: mm. 17-40
section A: mm. 41-56
While the slower episodes of this waltz have a distant echo of Ravel s Valses nobles et sentimentales , the grotesque and impulsive pi mosso sections, with their piquant dissonances and chromatic lines (mm. 20-23), point in a different direction. (In the autograph, m. 21 is marked allegretto , and m. 33 is marked pi mosso .)
The tempos in Shostakovich s recordings- = 130 (1947) and = 125 (1958)-are again significantly faster than those in the published editions. 16 His idiosyncratic rubato-capricious and liberal, yet inseparable from the swaying waltz rhythm-gives these performances a unique character. For example, in the first phrase, mm. 1-4 are relatively steady, but Shostakovich moves the tempo slightly forward through mm. 5-6 and then relaxes the pace through mm. 7-8.
Notice the 2+2+4 structure of mm. 1-8. In performance, observe the diminuendo hairpins in mm. 2 and 4-6 while simultaneously shaping this languorous theme into a single continuous line. (In the autograph, there is a crescendo hairpin on the first two beats and a diminuendo hairpin on the third beat in the right hand of mm. 6, 7, 15, and 16.) Build the inner tension toward m. 6 and then release it gradually through mm. 7-8. The same shaping, with a perhaps more intensified dynamic, will serve for mm. 9-16. The fluid legato required for the right-hand melody in mm. 1-16 can be achieved by involving the whole arm. This section also requires lush pedaling. Change the pedal on the first beat of each measure, except for mm. 8 and 16, where the pedal should be changed on the first and last beats of the measure.
The espr . marking in mm. 17-18 signals a more intense tone color, as the mood becomes slightly more animated. In contrast, mm. 19-20 are marked grazioso and require a softer volume, with a light staccato in the right hand. (In the autograph, there is a mf poco meno indication in m. 17 and a p indication in m. 19.) Maintain a pattern of one pedal per measure through mm. 17-20; Shostakovich liked the sound of pedaled staccato and used it frequently in both his piano scores and his performances. The right hand through mm. 19-20 can be fingered 5-1-2-4, 5-1, . Reinforce the pi mosso markings at mm. 21 and 29 with a sudden forte , and increase the tempo immediately. 17 Although mm. 20 and 28 are somewhat similar, note the ritenuto at the end of m. 28. Shift to a faster tempo in m. 33, 18 but save the highest volume for the central climax-marked forte -at m. 37. (In the autograph, m. 33 is marked f and m. 37 ff .)

Example 1.5. Fantastic Dance in G Major, op. 5, no. 2, mm. 37-41, fingering and pedaling.
The leaps in mm. 37-40 can present a technical challenge. To perform this segment with ease and confidence, think of the first beat of each measure as a new beginning, disconnecting it mentally from the previous beat, and play the first chord from above. (Note that the fermata between m. 40 and m. 41 should be senza pedale, such as is heard in both of Shostakovich s recordings. In the autograph, m. 41 is marked mp .) Example 1.5 demonstrates fingering and pedaling for mm. 37-41 by Boris Milich. 19
The recapitulation (m. 41) is a harmonically enriched version of the first section. Despite the constantly softening sound of the last section, the bass octaves should have a full and deep tone, especially on the first beat of mm. 48-56. Decrease the speed considerably through the last measures, and hold the pedal through the final measure, avoiding an abrupt pedal release.
Fantastic Dance in C Major, op. 5, no. 3
three-part form with coda
section A: mm. 1-12
section B: mm. 13-30
section A: mm. 31-40
coda: mm. 41-42
The polka is a popular genre in Russian music. It can be found in the piano works of Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Stravinsky. This dance is a polka-gallop with a touch of irony and comic gestures, including a short quotation (at m. 17, RH) from Chopin s tude in A Minor, op. 10, no. 2. Samuel Aster describes this polka as pure prankish Shostakovich with its perky rhythms and abrupt changes of harmony and register. In fact, the dance is written in C major but the A theme begins in A flat major, showing the composer s penchant for borrowing chords and modal relationships. 20
Shostakovich s own recorded tempos- = 112 (1947) and = 108 (1958)-suggest that the scherzando character requires a quick pace, no slower than = 108. In mm. 1-4 and 5-8, make a slight crescendo toward the accented right-hand Fs (on the second beat of mm. 2 and 6), followed by an equally slight diminuendo through mm. 3-4 and 7-8. For the fast left-hand octaves in mm. 3-4 and 7-8, let the forearm drop on the first sixteenth note of the group; play the rest of the sixteenths staccato. No conspicuous caesura is needed between mm. 4 and 5. Nikolayeva draws our attention to the echo dynamics- p in m. 9 and pp in m. 11-and the hairpins in m. 10 indicated in the autograph. 21 Absent from the published scores, these dynamic details can be included in performance. Short rhythmic pedals are sufficient for mm. 1-12, where boldness of rhythm and clarity of articulation are essential. 22

Example 1.6. Fantastic Dance in C Major, op. 5, no. 3, mm. 13-14, right-hand fingering.
The right-hand chromatic thirds in mm. 13-16 will be easier to play if you keep your fingers as close as possible to the black keys. (In the autograph, m. 13 is marked p.) For fingering in mm. 13-14, try the variant suggested by Boris Milich (see example 1.6 ). 23 One option for the right-hand passage in m. 17 is . In mm. 17-20, make the two lower right-hand notes (fingers 1 and 2) as short as possible-like staccato sixteenths. (In the autograph, m. 17 is marked p , and in mm. 17-20, all the right-hand notes, including the chords, are beamed in groups of four sixteenth notes.)
In mm. 13 and 15, hold the pedal through the first three eighth notes and release it on the last eighth note of the measure. (In mm. 14 and 16, the top A of the wide chord on the second part of beat 2 can be played by the right hand.) In mm. 17-18, change the pedal on each beat; hold a single pedal from the first beat of m. 19 through to the second beat of m. 20, changing it on the bass F-natural. In both recordings, Shostakovich makes a noticeable diminuendo for the shift of harmony at the end of m. 20.
In the quasi campanelli episode (mm. 21-30)-the only passage in the entire dance where the original theme is actually in C major, at least for a measure or so-staccato articulation is combined with lush pedaling. Change the pedal on the second beat of mm. 22, 24, 26, and 28 and on the first beat of mm. 23, 25, 27, and 29. Allow sufficient time for the silent fermata between mm. 30 and 31. In the autograph there are p and rit . indications in m. 29, an a tempo marking in m. 31, and a rit . on the second beat of m. 34; the same agogics can be heard in both of Shostakovich s recordings.
The beginning of the recapitulation (mm. 31-34) is a shortened version of the opening material and provides a strong contrast to the richly pedaled sound of the campanelli section. After the pp rit. in m. 39 and the sudden silence of m. 40, the mischievous polka returns a tempo in m. 41 for a farewell giggle in the final measure. In m. 42, avoid any accents in the left-hand broken C-major chord.
Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 12 composed 1926; no recording by Shostakovich
In June 1923, Shostakovich graduated in piano from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Over the next few years, his career would blossom, and for a while he was better known as a pianist than as a composer. However, in May 1925, he received his diploma in composition, also from the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and by the summer of 1926, his portfolio included the Symphony No. 1, as well as a number of chamber works and shorter pieces for piano. Yet, he did not have a major piano composition to his name. That summer, he began work on a piano concerto (soon aborted), but the idea of a piano sonata also began to form in his mind. The single-movement Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 12, was completed around 20 October 1926. 24
Atonal, contrapuntal, and harshly dissonant, this sonata became Shostakovich s declaration of independence, his revolt against academicism, his passionate exploration of contemporary musical language. Shostakovich later acknowledged that 1926 marked a turning point: I was influenced by modern Western composers-Hindemith, Krenek, and Stravinsky. This became noticeable in the First Piano Sonata and Aphorisms [op. 13]. 25 Shostakovich continued his modernistic explorations in the second and third symphonies (completed in 1927 and 1929) and his sardonic opera The Nose (1927). Prokofiev was another important influence. Shostakovich had performed Prokofiev s Piano Sonata No. 3 (composed in 1917) during his student years and would later add the composer s third piano concerto (composed in 1917-21) to his repertoire.
Shostakovich gave the premiere of his Piano Sonata No. 1 on 2 December 1926 in the Maly (Small) hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and often featured it in recitals during the late 1920s. The premiere performance lasted about twelve minutes. 26 The first published edition (Muzgiz, 1927) has no metronome markings. Shostakovich added these, along with some pedal markings, for the second edition (1935). Though numerous editions have appeared in Russia and abroad, there is still no published urtext. The most recent edition is the 2007 paperback edition published by Dmitri Shostakovich Publishers (DSCH), but comparison with the autograph, a facsimile of which I have studied, reveals a number of misprints and discrepancies, which will be pointed out in the following discussion.
This sonata is perhaps Shostakovich s most difficult piano work. It can be successfully tackled only by accomplished virtuosos who have both flawless technique and sufficient intellectual and physical power. Malcolm MacDonald writes: With its sinewy, propulsive counterpoint magnified through barnstorming multi-note complexes for both hands, cruelly fast tempos and raw, barbaric dissonances, the work is at once primitive and highly sophisticated, relentlessly anti-Romantic, and at the same time a kind of ultimate test-piece that presents the virtuoso player challenge after challenge. 27
sonata form
first subject (Allegro = 104): mm. 1-16

Example 1.7. Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 12, mm. 1-5.
developmental section: mm. 17-79
transitional theme: mm. 79-83
second subject (Meno mosso = 126): mm. 83-112
closing subject: mm. 113-131
Adagio ( = 72): mm. 132-148
Allegro ( = 100): mm. 148-189
Poco meno mosso ( = 144): mm. 190-208
Adagio ( = 176): m. 209
Lento ( = 92): mm. 210-245
Allegro ( = 176): mm. 246-273
Meno mosso ( = 138): mm. 274-281
Moderato ( = 116): mm. 282-286
codetta (Allegro = 104): mm. 287-288
The strikingly bold and vigorous atonal two-voice theme that opens this sonata (mm. 1-16) constitutes the melodic and harmonic nucleus of the work. Most of the other themes are generated from elements in the upper (A) and the lower (B) lines of this first subject.
The indicated tempo ( = 104) is extremely fast. A more reasonable speed of about = 80-85 is entirely possible, but a pace slower than = 70 will likely rob the theme of its impetuosity and propulsion. The explosive nature of this toccata precludes a cautious interpretation, yet it is rhythmic energy rather than sheer tempo or volume that is the foundation of the theme s vitality. A constant speed with no rubato is essential. Maintain an even legato in the single-voice passages, and avoid additional accentuation on the strong beats that might break the line. Give both voices a full tone, but play the upper voice in a slightly bolder style. Short touches of the damper pedal should not compromise clarity throughout the first subject. A longer pedal can be used in m. 8 to support the repetitions of the four-note chord.
In mm. 17-37, Shostakovich introduces a three-voice texture. The left hand assumes the leading role in mm. 17-19, but the right hand takes over toward m. 21. The island of modality (mm. 21-25) is strengthened by the C-major chords on each downbeat; compare these five repeated chords with the five fateful C-sharps in mm. 95-96 and 198-199. Support those splashes of C-major harmony with pedal, but otherwise keep the pedaling sparse through this episode. (In the Collected Works , m. 25 [RH], the E of the E/G dyad on beat 3 is missing.) Observe the senza pedale indication in m. 26 to make a sharp contrast with m. 27.
When the A motive (based on m. 3, beats 2-4) returns in m. 31 (middle staff), it is reinforced with fff chords, a tremolo in the high register, and a low bass timpani. Shostakovich s lush pedaling through mm. 31-33 (one pedal per measure) must be observed; no pedal breaks between measures are needed. In mm. 34-35, change the pedal on the first and last beats. In mm. 36-37, give each cluster chord a momentary touch of pedal, but make sure that the short rests remain clear. A generous broadening of tempo through mm. 36-37 is welcome, but the basic pace must be reestablished from the first chord of m. 38.
The next episode (m. 38, a tempo ) opens with the two contrapuntal lines of the first subject in both hands. This two-voice theme evolves into a four-voice canon in major ninths, becoming almost unrecognizable due to the thick texture, rhythmic modifications, and increased harshness of dissonance. The f marcato indication at m. 38 implies a drastic change in articulation and character. A predominantly staccato touch and an almost unpedaled dry sound will enhance the aggressive image of the newly disguised first subject. The A line is further developed through mm. 41-47, leading to a reappearance of the cluster chords in m. 47.
The right-hand descending sequence starting on the fourth beat of m. 47 is based on the B line (m. 1, beats 1-2); the left-hand accompaniment is derived from the right-hand motive on the fourth beat of mm. 21-24. Both hands play a uniform staccato through mm. 48-51, but keep the left hand considerably lighter through mm. 48-49, beats 1-3, and the right hand lighter from the fourth beat of m. 49. The fff markings on the first beat of mm. 52 and 56 should be treated as momentary accents; it is not until m. 61 that the fff marking indicates a general dynamic level.
Look for variety of color, and, using judicious dynamic balance and pedaling, avoid a colorless loud tone. For example, minimal use of the damper pedal through mm. 48-51 will enhance the percussiveness, while more frequent pedals will intensify the contrasting color in mm. 52-59. Tension rises as the register descends through mm. 56-60. Give the left-hand quarter notes in mm. 59-60 a bright accent, but shape the entire passage in a continuous line as it descends-crescendo and marcatissimo-to the low register.
Through mm. 61-62, the left-hand octaves and chords triumphantly quote the A motive (m. 3) accompanied by right-hand four-note chords. In mm. 63-64, the opening of the A motive (mm. 1-2) appears in three-note chords (middle staff) in the right hand, while the left hand continues to reiterate the ascending fourth motive. The layers of this dense texture must be carefully balanced so as not to overshadow the leading motive in the right hand. In mm. 61-63, use one pedal through the first and second beats, and change the pedal on the third and fourth beats; in m. 64, change the pedal on every beat.
With the return of the familiar right-hand pattern in m. 65 (compare with m. 48), the dynamic begins to subside. The left-hand chromatic passage ascending through mm. 65-66 runs into the syncopated motive at the beginning of m. 67. This motive derives from the B line (m. 2, beat 3) and consists of a descending semitone (E-flat-D), which in mm. 67 and 69 sounds in a syncopated version spiced with a diminished octave (E-natural-E-flat). It is restated through mm. 71-72 (LH) as a macabre sequence.
The left-hand octave passage from m. 76 descends in steps of a fourth. This progression, deriving from line B (m. 1, beat 2), eventually lands on a repeating tritone (A-flat-D, starting in m. 79 on beat 4) accompanying the brief transitional theme. 28 The progression finally breaks into an octatonic scale (F-sharp-G-sharp-A-B-C). Similar octatonic structures (known in Russia as the Rimsky-Korsakov scale ) appear in the second and closing themes and play a significant role throughout the sonata, for example, the bass line of mm. 112-113 and m. 209. Sustain the fff volume up to the harshly accented chord on the first beat of m. 83, which in the autograph has vertical and horizontal accent signs in both hands.
S ECOND S UBJECT ( MM . 83-112)
The second subject enters with theatrical pomposity. The indicated tempo is meno mosso = 126, but if a slower opening tempo was chosen for the first subject, the speed here should also be proportionally slower. For example, if the opening tempo is = 80-85, the second subject should be about = 89-100.
The second subject is heralded by a series of five descending rapid ff scale passages on the white keys, each encompassing a diminished octave. The last of these scales is preceded by an ascending fourth (m. 88) and followed by a descending fourth (m. 89). The purposely absurd character of the music is further enhanced by the donkey-march melody beginning on the fourth beat of m. 89, where the accompaniment abounds in fourths and sevenths. 29 The two-voice texture (with occasional doubling) continues until the entry of the closing subject.
Begin the scale figures with a piercing accent on the first note, and cut off the unaccented last note resolutely. The rests in mm. 83-87 require rhythmic accuracy; they must be neither shortened nor prolonged. The volume drops from fortissimo to forte on the fourth beat of m. 87, but the stubborn didactic character, rhythmic energy, and markedly steady pulse must not weaken. Maintain a uniform non legato in both hands through mm. 90-99, and pay attention to all other articulations, such as the tenuto markings (mm. 95-96, 101-103), the poco legato (mm. 100-101), and the marcatissimo (m. 105). Note that in Shostakovich s scores, the term marcatissimo often implies a staccato articulation. 30
C LOSING S UBJECT ( MM . 113-131)
The closing subject provides a striking contrast to the second subject because of its spooky character, pp , and four-voice texture. It is preceded by one measure of the staccato eighth-note bass line (m. 112), which continues to drift somewhat aimlessly through mm. 113-119, forming various melodic intervals and tone-semitone structures. The undulating chromatic soprano melody (m. 113) is supported by parallel fourths and other intervals in the alto and tenor voices. The texture becomes more complex as the register gradually descends. In m. 123, the three upper voices begin a ghostly staccato march, pianissimo , above the second subject stated as a countermelody in the bass. This hushed and apprehensive atmosphere is interrupted suddenly in m. 129 by a harshly accented augmented triad (F-A-C-sharp) in the right hand, followed by a G-minor triad (G-B-flat-D) that is sustained through the next four measures, as the soprano line descends to the extreme low register for the beginning of the development at m. 132.
The semplice indication in m. 113 might seem surprising, but it makes sense in relation to both the immediate context and the further metamorphosis of this material in the development and recapitulation; compare the melody at m. 113 with the one in m. 190, or the left-hand melody in m. 246. This theme requires a glimmering and more penetrating tone color than mm. 109-111, but it should still be rather emotionally detached. From m. 113, maintain a sharp contrast between the legato upper voices (especially the soprano) and the staccato bass line. The subtle harmonic shifts require sensitivity of touch, not conspicuous rubatos. A generous ritenuto, as indicated, must be shaped through m. 131.
A DAGIO ( MM . 132-148)
The development opens in the bass with a slow F-sharp-E-sharp trill that blends into the sound of the fading triad. In m. 133, the first subject (line A) appears in a new ghostly image; note also the intrusion of the second subject in mm. 134-135 followed by ornamented tritones and chromatic tone clusters in the deep bass (m. 136). In mm. 133-134, the first subject is stated in octaves, but in its next entrance (mm. 137-139) the two voices are a minor ninth apart, creating a jarring dissonance that is maintained up to the final three-voice entrance in mm. 141-144. The right-hand chords in mm. 145-148, in imitation with the left hand, develop the ascending fourth figure.
Shostakovich s marking for this episode ( = 72) seems hurried, even in comparison to the other score tempos. If more moderate speeds are chosen throughout the sonata, the tempo here should be considerably slower (about = 50). Observe the morendo and ppp legato markings in m. 132, and listen attentively to the fading sound of the tied triad. (In the autograph, m. 132, the abbreviation mez ., possibly indicating mezzo voce , appears below the tied triad on the upper staff, and the ppp legato marking is placed directly above the lower staff. There is no morendo marking.) Carefully balance the voices within this extremely soft dynamic. If necessary, use the una corda pedal. The bass ostinato must be audible, but it should not obscure the upper voices. Follow the senza pedale marking at the end of m. 134 to achieve a secco sound through mm. 134-135. These measures create a strong contrast to the surrounding pedaled sonority.
A LLEGRO ( MM . 148-189)
This captivating and contrapuntally elaborated episode is like a diabolical scherzo in which the themes engage in a fierce battle for domination. The right-hand part through mm. 149-167 is based predominantly on motives and fragments from the closing and second subjects (with some rhythmic and intervallic modifications). The left-hand part is based mainly on the first subject. For example, the first phrase of the A theme, albeit rhythmically simplified, appears in the bass, mm. 149-156.
The repeated pp staccato octaves following the ff chord in m. 148 must proceed with great impetuosity. This allegro episode is marked = 100. A somewhat slower tempo ( = 70-80) can be adopted, but the inherent rhythmic drive must prevail. Use a light yet biting staccato articulation and bright rhythmic accents. Unfailing dynamic control is also paramount. The volume should increase gradually-the first forte does not appear until m. 166-and the left hand must never overpower the right hand. Momentary touches of the damper pedal will brighten the color and magnify the accents. (In the autograph, mm. 156-157, the p sempre is placed over the third and fourth beats of m. 156, while the crescendo crosses over the bar line to m. 157 and likely applies only to that measure.)
At m. 167, the left-hand part becomes more diverse and complex, expanding into an upper layer of chords and a lower layer of octaves. Both layers are derived from the A line of the first subject. In the upper layer, the A line begins on B-natural and sounds in rhythmic augmentation; in the lower layer, it begins on B-flat and sounds in rhythmic diminution. The right-hand part includes the ascending fourth figure (mm. 167-168), a descending scale similar to those found during and prior to the second subject (m. 167), and the second subject itself (starting from m. 168, beat 4).
The rich contrapuntal tapestry of mm. 167-189 can be challenging, even for an accomplished virtuoso, in terms of technique, rhythm, clarity, and balance. Give the tenor statement of the first subject (LH, mm. 167-173) the tone color of an orchestral brass section as it continues to unfold together with the second subject (RH). The leaps in both hands-but particularly the left hand-are extremely difficult and require excellent coordination.
From m. 164, along with an intensifying crescendo, the pedal can become richer. In mm. 167-168, for example, sustain the left-hand upper chords with the pedal; in m. 170, change the pedal on every beat; and in m. 173, use one pedal for the entire measure.
While more liberal agogics can be applied through mm. 169-174, the initial tempo must be reestablished at m. 175, together with a toccata-like pulse. In mm. 175-189, the left hand plays both lines of the first subject, while the right hand plays the second subject in octaves embellished with glissandi. A crisp articulation is needed through mm. 175-189 to project the contrapuntal lines with clarity and boldness. Shostakovich s fingering (for example, RH, mm. 175, 182, et al.) is not only useful but seems indicative of his desired orchestration for these passages.
It is not wise to perform this section senza pedale; the lack of color will impoverish the texture and create a dry, shallow sonority. Instead, use frequent yet short rhythmic pedals. For example, pedal every beat in mm. 177-178, but release the pedal on the second eighth note (m. 177) or the third triplet eighth note (m. 178) of each right-hand beat. In mm. 187-189, change the pedal on every beat.
P OCO MENO MOSSO , A DAGIO ( MM . 190-209)
This episode is based mainly on the intonations of the closing subject; compare, for example, the top line of m. 190 with the top line of m. 113, beats 1-3, and note also that the bass line of m. 190 derives from the octatonic passage of m. 82. Shostakovich s daring pedal indications for mm. 191, 193, 195, and 197 constitute an important element of the score and must be observed. Example 1.8 demonstrates a possible fingering for m. 195.
The ominous recitative at m. 198 should be allowed some declamatory freedom, but the tempo change should not be significant. As with mm. 95-96, direct the melody to the last note. The upper line of mm. 198-199 is derived from the second subject (mm. 95-96). The tone clusters of mm. 202 and 205-208 are a quotation from the Adagio (m. 136).
The Adagio passage in m. 209, which is marked = 176, can be even slower (about = 130-140), with appropriate tempo rubato to correspond to the slower tempos adopted earlier. Follow the pedal markings for mm. 205-209 with the utmost precision. In m. 209, blend the tones as smoothly as possible, and allow sufficient time to listen for the resulting sonorities. (In the Collected Works , the pedal indication on the first beat of m. 205 is missing.)
L ENTO ( MM . 210-245)
This Lento episode is a rather odd but hypnotically beautiful nocturne. The melody (mm. 210-228, middle staff) is an inverted and rhythmically augmented variant of mm. 87-102 of the second subject (see example 1.9 ). This inversion sounds here at a slower tempo and, for the most part, a higher register and is contrapuntally supported by the bass line and ornamented with dissonant chords in the upper staff. These three layers, gathered over long stretches of the damper pedal, create an exotic and bewitching sonority. (The inverted variant of the second subject returns in the recapitulation with a different rhythm and octave doubling.) Example 1.9 illustrates the second subject as stated in the exposition (mm. 87-91), plus two derivatives: the Lento episode ( MM . 210-215) and the recapitulation (mm. 274-277).

Example 1.8. Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 12, m. 195, fingering.

Example 1.9. Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 12, mm. 87-91, comparison with mm. 210-215 and mm. 274-277.
The speed marked for the Lento ( = 92) is fast. A slower tempo of about = 60-70 is possible and should not cause melodic fragmentation. Sammarah Bellardo notes that the most difficult thing about this section, besides the memorization which is very elusive, is maintaining the long phrasing in a convincing line, especially when so much motion from one position to another interferes with sustaining a long line. 31 This texture requires the ability to control and balance the arm weight on specific fingers in order to project at least two contrasting tone qualities with the same hand.

Example 1.10. Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 12, m. 219, autograph.
The published editions have several misprints through the Lento. In m. 215, top staff, beat 3, the first sixteenth should consist of an E/D dyad, similar to the last beat of m. 218, not C/D, as printed in the Collected Works . In m. 219, middle staff, the marking above the whole note B-flat should be m.g . ( main gauche , LH), rather than mf as printed in all the editions (see example 1.10 ). Finally, the time signature in m. 223, present in the autograph, is missing from all published scores. It is unfortunate that these errors reappeared in the latest DSCH paperback edition (1988).
In the autograph, the pedal indications in mm. 211, 213-220, 222, 225, and 227-228 appear on the first melody note (not the first bass note) of the measure; there are no pedal markings in m. 221. The autograph also reveals that in m. 218, the pedal release is on the melody D-natural (the second eighth note of beat 3), and the next pedal is on the following half note D-flat. Although there are no marked pedal changes or releases from the first beat of m. 222 to the first beat of m. 225, some half or full changes should be applied if necessary.
When the main melody rises to the upper staff at m. 229, the lethargic atmosphere begins to shift, and the themes wake up. The A line of the first subject sounds legato at m. 229 and again at m. 233. It is also heard twice in the bass octaves in mm. 231-232 (from E) and in mm. 233-236 (from D-flat, in augmentation). Another familiar theme-the closing subject-appears in mm. 236-237. In the final preparation for the recapitulation, the march-like motive from the second subject enters on the last quarter note of m. 238 and alternates with half-note chords through mm. 240-245. Make sure that the non legato march motive in mm. 238-239 and 242-244 has a dry and apprehensive sound to contrast with the pedaled sonority of mm. 241 and 245. Increase the tempo slightly through this transitional section from m. 236, leading toward the recapitulation at m. 246.
A LLEGRO ( MM . 246-273)
The recapitulation unfolds in a relentless stream of intensifying energy, dynamics, and textural density, building to the final explosion of the last measure. The section opens with the closing subject presented in the left hand in augmentation accompanied by the right-hand sixteenth-note passage. These two lines are joined by the opening motive of line A, entering in m. 250 in the upper voice of the left hand. This texture is suddenly interrupted by a progression of dissonant chords in the right hand (mm. 254-255 and 259-260), often decorated with grace notes. (Compare to mm. 149, 151, 154, and other occurrences in the development.)
In mm. 250-253, all three voices are squashed into the low, or lowest, register. It is essential to maintain clarity within the pp dynamic. The right-hand sixteenth notes must have a light and crisp sound so that the two left-hand themes will be audible. Try to use the damper pedal as little as possible through mm. 246-253. (The con pedale indication below m. 246 is missing in several editions, including the DSCH.) Short rhythmic pedals can be applied for the accents on the forte right-hand chords in mm. 254-255 and 259-260.
A chromatic sequence ascends in canon through mm. 263-266. The sequence, which is seven beats long, enters in the left hand on the third beat of m. 263. The right-hand imitation begins on the fourth beat of m. 263, an octave plus a perfect fifth higher. Build a vigorous crescendo through this sequence toward m. 266. (The f marked in the autograph on the third beat of m. 266, below the triplet, is missing from several editions.)
The ensuing climactic episode (mm. 266-273) is based on the A line of the first subject; the right hand derives from m. 6, beat 1, the left hand from m. 3. In this sparkling culmination the damper pedal must be lavishly applied from the last beat of m. 266. Change the pedal on the low bass chords on the third beats of mm. 267, 268, and 270, the fourth beat of m. 269, and the second beat of m. 271. Make a short unpedaled caesura before the first chord of m. 274.
The ending of the sonata-from the Meno mosso = 138 in m. 274 through to the final measures-resembles the triumphant codas in a number of Romantic compositions. 32 At the same time, however, it is a fascinating example of the young Shostakovich s command of counterpoint, as he gathers all the main themes together through mm. 274-288 for the brightest climax in the sonata. In mm. 274-284, the right hand plays both lines of the first subject, reinforced with octave doubling, while the Lento theme unfolds, also in octaves, in the lower left-hand voice from m. 274 to the third beat (D-flat) of m. 284 (see the bottom line of example 1.9 ). At the same time, several other fragments appear in the left-hand upper voice. 33 At m. 282, the tempo drops to Moderato = 116, while the rhythmic groupings speed up from triplets to sixteenth notes.
Despite the thickness of the texture, the first subject in the right-hand octaves must be clear and declamatory. The Lento theme in the lower left-hand voice serves as a harmonic foundation and requires a deeper sound than the upper left-hand voice. Highlight the first notes of the descending scales in mm. 278 and 279 with piercing accents. From the fourth beat of m. 279, the melody of the second subject must have the sound of a trumpet. Ample pedaling is indispensable through this ecstatic apotheosis.
The recapitulation ends in a brilliant two-bar martellato cascade of cluster chords punctuated with forceful accents that comes to a sudden stop at the end of m. 286. The fermata should be unpedaled. The two-bar-long codetta (mm. 287-288)-marked Allegro = 104-is like a short tornado. No pedal is required except for the F-sharp octave on the first beat of m. 288. As Raymond Clarke observes, This ending of the sonata leaves the tonal/atonal dilemma unresolved. The manic last bar is a speeded-up version of bars 95-96, the repeated C-sharp returning once more to sabotage what would otherwise have been a tonal ending in C major. 34
Aphorisms , op. 13 composed between 5 February and 7 April 1927; no recording by Shostakovich
In late January 1927, Shostakovich participated in the First International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. Though he received a diploma for his efforts, his failure to win a prize disappointed him deeply. During a short sojourn in Berlin on his way home (6-15 February), the idea of Aphorisms was born. Shostakovich recalled: During that time, I was thinking a great deal about a particular law of nature; it served as an impulse for composing Aphorisms , which are all united by the same idea. I don t want to say right now what idea that was. At the beginning of March, when I was already in Leningrad, I began to compose, writing all ten pieces in one burst. 35
In a letter to his friend Boleslav Yavorsky, dated 10 March 1927, Shostakovich wrote: I ve completed four pieces, which can by no means be called joyous. The dreams I see are for the most part melancholic. But at the end of the day it s not as significant as eternity. The worst part is that I am lonely. 36 This was maybe a reference to the fact that his affair with Tatiana Glivenko was on the rocks at around this time. The title Aphorisms was suggested by Yavorsky.
Aphorisms belongs to a small group of Shostakovich s modernist compositions that also includes the Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 12 (1926), and his opera The Nose (1927), both of which were influenced by contemporary European composers-Arnold Schoenberg, B la Bart k, Paul Hindemith, and Ernst Krenek. 37 As Eric Roseberry explains, in Aphorisms , linearity prevails in a counterpoint of two or more parts that interact regardless of the resultant dissonances. 38 In this set, however, unlike the piano sonata, Shostakovich is not at all interested in a glamorous concert style. On the contrary, he sought a new type of piano texture in which the style is exclusively contrapuntal and sparsely voiced. 39 Aphorisms was premiered by Shostakovich in 1927 and published by Triton later that year.
For many years, these remarkable pieces were consigned to oblivion. The set was republished by Muzgiz in 1966, but there is still no urtext edition. All existing editions, except for the one in volume 39 of the Collected Works (1983), contain errors. The autograph was not available for the present research; all references in this chapter regarding the autograph are taken from a secondary source, namely, Tatiana Nikolayeva s comments in the Collected Works score. 40
Today, Aphorisms has seen a well-deserved revival. Vladimir Pleshakov, the first Western pianist to record the set, describes Aphorisms as Shostakovich s brief expedition into the Schoenbergian cosmos. The ten short pieces are transparent in texture; many are abstract in concept. Harmony is experimental, often daring and harsh. 41 He describes Nocturne and Canon as rather Viennese and labels Recitative, Serenade, and Legend as Russian-Viennese hybrids. But the best of the set- Elegy, Marche fun bre, Etude, Dance of Death, and Lullaby -he classifies as pure Shostakovich.
From the pedagogical standpoint, Recitative is relatively easy and Nocturne quite challenging; the remaining pieces are of average difficulty.
Recitative, op. 13, no. 1
composed 25 February 1927
= 104
two-part form
section A: mm. 1-11
section B: mm. 12-21
Recitative is an introverted and reflective miniature of volatile emotions and changing moods. It is serious at the beginning (mm. 1-6), then ironic (mm. 7-11), becoming tender through mm. 12-15 and, finally, whining and cranky through mm. 16-21, where the music comes to a sudden stop on the dissonant and angry last chord. In Shostakovich s performance, Recitative was the shortest piece, lasting only thirty-three seconds. 42
The autograph is marked moderato; the metronome speed ( = 104) is the same as that printed in the score. At this tempo or slightly slower ( = 96-100), the music has a natural pulse with sufficient room for interpretive nuance.
Though the texture consists of five voices, they seldom sound simultaneously. Usually two or three voices are present. The work opens with the soprano-bass duet, followed by the tenor phrase that begins at the end of m. 2. This relatively lengthy tenor solo is marked poco marcato (though not in the autograph) and in the autograph is fingered for the left-hand thumb throughout, most likely implying a non legato articulation. A senza pedale marking, present in the autograph, is not included in the published editions.
The absence of the usual components of a normal piano texture-a rich harmonic support and/or pedaling-challenges the pianist to rely entirely on the quality of touch, articulation, and dynamics. The ability to intone eloquently a simple melody, or a combination of several melodies, is paramount. The solo phrases in the tenor (mm. 2 and 8), alto (m. 4), soprano (m. 12), and bass (m. 16) must be carefully mastered. Give each an individual timbre, dynamic shape, and intensity. For example, in the tenor solo (mm. 2-4), increase the inner tension toward the first A-flat in m. 4 and make the second A-flat (m. 4, beat 2) softer. The intensity rises through the alto-tenor melody that begins on the last beat of m. 4. The tenor F on the first beat of m. 6 must not be overshadowed by the soprano C, and the distinct timbres of both solo voices must be sustained throughout the phrase.
The senza marcato marking at m. 12 indicates a dramatic change of color. A softer dynamic shading with a less detached articulation will give the soprano phrase a character that is warm and poetic yet not sentimental. Avoid any excessive rubato that will distract the listener s attention from the more essential elements. From m. 14, the time signature changes in almost every measure; count in eighth notes to keep the rhythm precise. The marcato articulation that reappears in the bass at m. 16 (not in the autograph) should not affect the upper voices. Match the volume of the final chord to the overall dynamics; this accented chord must be bold, but it should not sound heavy or harsh. This same chord is used repeatedly in Serenade.
Serenade, op. 13, no. 2
composed 27 February 1927
= 208
three-part form with coda
section A: mm. 1-12
section B: mm. 12-23
section A: mm. 23-34
coda: mm. 35-37
The opening chord-a softer, unaccented version of the final chord of Recitative -functions throughout Serenade as a kind of ostinato; it is played twenty times in all. Serenade is a hushed and tense scene of a private conversation. A monologue in the bass (mm. 1-12) is followed by one in the soprano (mm. 12-23). In the third section, the two voices speak simultaneously, each restating its initial melody. The coda (mm. 35-37) brings no compromise. Despite the softer volume and regretful sighs, in the two final measures, the two voices are separated by a major fourteenth.
The tempo marking in the autograph (Andantino amoroso = 168) is significantly slower than that in the published score ( = 208). The faster pace seems more appropriate to the nervous character of the music.
The bass melody in mm. 1-12, saturated with hidden passion, must be played in one breath. This phrase requires a special kind of legato articulation-free of dynamic exaggeration and consistent in timbre, yet with all its turns and intervals expressively intoned. (The una corda marked below m. 1 in the published score is not present in the autograph.) In mm. 9-11, the dynamic tension increases with the rising register, but the volume must decrease in m. 12 in preparation for the soprano entry. The tied notes, often punctuated by the aforementioned ostinato chords, should be charged with an inner energy that connects, rather than separates, the motives. For example, the tied dotted E in m. 3 must gravitate to the next melodic tone, G, so that the line will continue to evolve despite the disruptive chord coming in between these notes.
In the soprano monologue (mm. 12-23), some of the ostinato chords are shortened to sixteenth notes, for instance, the chord that follows the D-sharp (between mm. 12 and 13). Do not hold these chords longer than their sixteenth-note value; in this example, the D-sharp must sound alone going into the first beat of m. 13. Keep the rhythm as precise as possible; with the frequent changes of time signature and the capricious rhythmic figures, there is no need for additional rubato. Build the dynamic culmination toward the indicated hairpins in m. 22.
In mm. 23-34, make both lines dynamically equal, but take special care to control the evenness of tone in the bass. As with previous fragments, shape this section as one continuous phrase rather than starting anew after a tied note. Listen for the interval that emerges after such notes (for example, the major seventh plus octave on the first eighth note of m. 24), and continue the line, matching the following notes to the fading sound of the preceding tied notes. Create a sharp dynamic contrast between mm. 33 and 34 (possibly tre corde) and m. 35 ( pp , una corda).
Nocturne, op. 13, no. 3
composed 1 March 1927
= 92
section 1: = 92
section 2: = 58; = 168
section 3: = 56
section 4: = 66
Nocturne is the most sophisticated, provocative, and enigmatic piece of the entire suite. Permeated with nervous passion and agitation from the stormy opening to the soft bitter close, the music evolves in an unpredictable sequence of events, full of jarring dissonances and explosive runs. Violent night ends in total misery and exhaustion.
The score is written with no time signature or bar lines but has five different metronome markings. The complicated rhythms are spelled out in minute detail. One feature shared with the preceding Serenade is the frequent use of the major seventh (often spelled as a diminished octave) and the minor second; another is the syncopated major second (using a rhythmic pattern first introduced in Recitative, m. 18, beat 1, soprano).
S ECTION 1 ( = 92)
In the autograph, the appassionato marking, along with the metronome speed = 92, are placed at the beginning of this section, but in the published editions, the appassionato marking does not appear until the start of the third section. However, this term suits the entire Nocturne perfectly.
The intricate rhythm may seem challenging at first, and while the music allows for considerable liberty in agogics, it is important to make the rhythmic subdivisions as proportional as possible. For instance, in the opening figures, the sixteenth notes must be much slower than the thirty-second notes that follow.
The opening phrase should burst in loudly and run impetuously toward the sharply accented eighth notes (E and D) at the top. Observe, but at the same time think through, the quarter rest, shaping the whole phrase toward the fermata-a single undivided line with a soaring crescendo. In the autograph, there is a crescendo written in the opening phrase and a ff above the thirty-second-note figure that follows the quarter rest; the tre corde indication does not appear.
Start the second phrase piano as marked, and gradually build an even more spectacular crescendo than before. Give the harsh dissonance at the end of the second phrase special declamatory power in preparation for the fff D-flat fermata.
Unlike the fast passages, the longer notes through both phrases should not be blurred with the pedal and must retain their melodic clarity. Apply the damper pedal as indicated through the descending cascade of thirty-second notes to support the tremendous crescendo, and release the pedal as you silently depress the keys for the minor second (D-E-flat) in the right hand.
S ECTION 2 ( = 58; = 168)
The tied minor second (D-E-flat) that ends the first section provides background harmony for the repeated figure (G-A) in the bass, which should pulsate impatiently but evenly. Perform the ensuing soprano melody in one breath, despite its spasmodic rhythm, and take care not to duplicate the left-hand accents in the right hand. Note that the tempo has dropped to = 58 and fluctuates between accelerando and a tempo throughout this section.
When the syncopated motive in the left hand returns a moment later, a tempo, make sure that the second and third iterations (the dotted sixteenth on the A) are faster and more agitated than the first one (the dotted eighth on the A). Keep the rhythmic proportions intact through the following accelerando passage, as the two voices scurry away from each other in short bursts of contrary motion. The third set of the left-hand syncopated motive must again be faster and agitated before finally breaking into a trill. Use the second fingers of both hands to play the trill, and apply the damper pedal to produce a more homogeneous sound.

Example 1.11. Nocturne, op. 13, no. 3, section 2, pedaling and fingering.
The following accelerando expands the range of the contrary motion. Make a huge crescendo leading up to the culminating ffff explosion. Colorful pedaling and comfortable fingering are crucial for both contrary-motion passages. See example 1.11 for one possible pedaling and fingering. After this passage, the speed for the short upward sequence of parallel minor ninths ( = 168) is almost as fast as the opening tempo of the piece ( = 92).
S ECTION 3 ( = 56 TO = 66)
The music shifts to a slower pace ( = 56), yet the appassionato marking should be noted. (In the autograph, this passage is marked adagio with no metronome mark.) The lament in the right hand, accompanied by a downward major seventh (F-G-flat in the left hand), requires a warmer tone quality and a softer volume. The emotional intensity in all voices must rise throughout the successive segment. The polyrhythmic combinations are complex; it is helpful to begin by studying each voice separately. Despite the inherent agitato, the soprano line must not be rushed. A relentless crescendo should continue until the melodic fall (marked = 66), but it should sound desperate rather than merely loud.
S ECTION 4 ( = 66)
The final tempo change-to = 66 ( pi mosso in the autograph)-signifies the beginning of the closing section. (The autograph also contains a scherzando marking for the left-hand passage.) The accelerating cry of the soprano, eventually breaking into a trill, needs an inner swelling. The adjacent short bass motive is marked ritenuto in the autograph (above the descending diminished octave B-flat-B-natural). Both passages suggest that the painful conflict remains unresolved.
Nocturne ends with two lonely sighs -descending diminished fourths, E-flat-B-natural. Allow time for the fermatas, and shape the short diminuendos carefully through this simple yet eloquent ending. These closing sighs (D, E-flat, B), together with the preceding left-hand dyad (B/C), make up the notes of Shostakovich s musical monogram, DSCH, or D-E-flat-C-B. 43
Elegy, op. 13, no. 4
composed 6 March 1927
= 44
one-part form of eight measures
The melodious and nostalgic Elegy provides a welcome respite from the harsh dissonance of Serenade and Nocturne. It is a contrapuntal work in neo-Baroque style with a fresh and fascinating use of modality. In mm. 1-7, the three upper voices are in white-key modes-C Ionian and A Aeolian, while the octave bass line introduces lowered scale degrees: D-flat (m. 2), E-flat (mm. 3 and 7), A-flat (mm. 3 and 6), and B-flat (m. 4). Modal ambiguity also dominates the last measure, where the F-sharp coexists with the F-natural.
The autograph is marked largo mesto , with legatissimo written between the staves of the first measure. The metronome marking in both the autograph and the published scores ( = 44) suits the contemplative, sad atmosphere, although a slightly slower pace (around = 40) can be convincing. Begin by studying the soprano and bass lines together, and then add the tenor and alto lines one at a time. Practicing individual voices can also improve rhythmic precision in such spots as the first beat of m. 7.
Shape the soprano melody in one continuous cantabile phrase. The other voices must not overshadow or interrupt its sound but rather support and enrich the leading part. For example, give the alto line in m. 3 a dynamic shading that will not upstage the soprano melody. Match the moving alto with the sustained sounds-the dotted quarter note C on the first beat and the tied G on the third beat-to achieve the necessary balance.
The bass octaves require the use of the damper pedal. The printed score contains one marking, the pedal indication on the fourth beat of m. 2 and the release on the first beat of m. 3. However, the autograph also gives a pedal on the first beat of m. 5, with a release on the second beat. As in any contrapuntal work, the pedaling must not obscure the voicing, yet it can be fairly liberal throughout Elegy due to the resonant sonority of those bass octaves.

Example 1.12. Funeral March, op. 13, no. 5, mm. 9-22 pedaling.
Funeral March, op. 13, no. 5
composed 9 March 1927
= 152
three-part form
section A: mm. 1-8
section B: mm. 9-23
section A: mm. 24-37
The opening drum rolls and trumpet calls of Funeral March seem to belong more to the world of pantomime, and the fast tempo ( = 152; in the autograph, Adagio = 152) contributes to the farcical character of the music. On the other hand, melancholy allusions to Recitative and Serenade in mm. 9-23 and the cathartic C-major harmony in mm. 30-36 reveal a deep and genuine emotion.
Use a crisp non legato articulation for mm. 1-8 and other passages where this theme appears. Because of the meter changes a few measures later, it is best to count here in eighth notes. The mp in the opening measure should provide a sharp contrast with the ppp at m. 9.
In the spooky middle section (mm.

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