Dmitri Shostakovich Quotes

Enjoy the top 36 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Dmitri Shostakovich Quotes

Badgering a colleague doesnt come from a fit of pique, it comes from an organic quality of the soul. And a mean soul will inevitably be reflected in music. Wagner is a convincing example of that, but far from the only one.
— Dmitri Shostakovich —

When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

In response to a plea in early 1941 from his colleague and friend, the writer Marietta Shaginyan, who was newly infatuated with the Piano Quintet and its creator, Mickhail Zoshchenko drafted for her a portrait of the Shostakovich he knew, a deeply complex individual:
"It seemed to you that he is "frail, fragile, withdrawn, an infinitely direct, pure child." That is so. But if it were only so, then great art (as with him) would never be obtained. He is exactly what you say he is, plus something else - he is hard, acid, extremely intelligent, strong perhaps, despotic and not altogether good-natured (although cerebrally good-natured).
That is the combination in which he must be seen. And then it may be possible to understand his art to some degree.
In him, there are great contradictions. In him, one quality obliterates the other. It is conflict in the highest degree. It is almost a catastrophe."
Quoted in Laurel Fay: Shostakovich, a Life.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

Now I can't abide rudeness, even in so called great artists. Rudeness and cruelty are the qualities i hate most. Rudeness and cruelty are always connected, I feel. One example out of many is Stalin.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

I don't think that Prokofiev ever treated me seriously as a composer; he considered only Stravinsky a rival and never missed a chance to take a shot at him. I remember once he started telling me some vile story about Stravinsky. I cut him off.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

I was a guest in the home of a conductor when I was in my early twenties. They turned on the gramophone and played a popular record of a foxtrot. I liked the foxtrot, but I didn't like the way it was played. I confided my opinion to the host, who suddenly said, 'Ah, so you don't like the way it's played? All right, if you want, write down the number by heart and orchestrate it and I'll play it. That is, of course, if you can do it and in a given amount of time: I'm giving you an hour. if you're really a genius, you should be able to write it in an hour.' I did it in 45 minutes.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

What you have in your head, put down on paper. The head is a fragile vessel.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

I don't know what will become of this piece. Our brave critics will no doubt charge me with imitating Ravel's Bolero. Too bad - this is how I hear war.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

The real geniuses know where their writing has to be good and where they can get away with some mediocrity.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

A creative artist works on his next composition because he was not satisfied with his previous one.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

I feel eternal pain for those who were killed by Hitler , but I feel no less pain for those killed on Stalin 's orders. I suffer for everyone who was tortured, shot, or starved to death.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

Many consider that Shostakovich is the greatest 20th-century composer. In his 15 symphonies, 15 quartets, and in other works he demonstrated mastery of the largest and most challenging forms with music of great emotional power and technical invention ... All his works are marked by emotional extremes - tragic intensity, grotesque and bizarre wit, humour, parody, and savage sarcasm.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

I live in the USSR, work actively and count naturally on the worker and peasant spectator. If I am not comprehensible to them I should be deported.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

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