I figured that after the violence of the past few music pieces, it might be time for something a bit more quiet. I also figured that if I didn't post another Shostakovich piece sometime soon I'd end up having a month (or a year) of just Shostakovich music and the last thing I want to do is put people off him. And so, here is a piece of piano music by him:
Prelude & Fugue 4 in E minor, played by Dmitri Shostakovich himself.
This work and the rest of 24 Preludes and Fugues was influenced by Bach and in particular the playing of Bach's piano music by Tatyana Nikolayeva, who also performed the premiere of the complete piece in 1952 (Shosty himself had plays some preludes and fugues in public before, but not the entire cycle). Of course the Russian officials didn't like the work because it was supposedly - surprise surprise - formalist. Nikolayeva has said that Shosty wanted this work performed as a cycle, but there's also some sources that say that Shosty wanted the opposite, and preferred something like 6 preludes and fugues to be played at concerts, not all 24. So I'm really not sure. What I do know is that all pieces are absolutely beautiful in their own right. I'm a huge fan of Shosty's orchestral music, and this is probably for a large part because they're spastic and loud. But pieces like the Preludes and Fugues show that he wasn't just good at orchestral noise. All the more reason to love him!