Shostakovich Festival - Lecture for Ruben Goriely

Musical instruments museum
Fri 25.02.22 18:30

From political revolt to a musical revolution: understanding Shostakovich today

Ruben Goriely (UCL) - Conference in French

The contrast between the Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra, and Symphony No. 13, allows us to approach Shostakovich's music in all its complexity. On one hand, a joyous work written for soloists and a string orchestra by a composer who is still young; on the other, a symphony, impressive in terms of orchestra size and symbolic importance, written by a composer ravaged by illness. However different these two works may seem, each reveal in their own way Shostakovich’s originality and the interest the composer arouses today. The Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra redefines the dynamic of a concerto for soloist through the unexpected interjections of a third player, the trumpet. As for Symphony No. 13, it goes beyond the conventional definition of a symphony, while remaining within the historical lineage of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9., with the addition of choirs and a soloist. Through the prism of these two emblematic but atypical works, we will therefore be able to give meaning to the extensive musicological research that has been done on the Russian composer.  

Over and above Shostakovich's political biography, we will focus on his music as such. What is its place within the history of music? What does it offer present-day listeners? How to best listen and understand it?  


Ruben Goriely is a researcher at CERMUS (UCLouvain Research Centre for Musicology) and assistant in Musicology at the Faculty of Philosophy, Arts and Letters (FIAL/UCLouvain). His research particularly focuses on vocality and orchestration in 19th and 20th century music.