Michael Lear: Part Eleven: The Shostakovich 10th
By Michael Moriarty
I cannot stay away from it!!
Why? It can be heard as a complete revelation of the composer’s final response to the tyranny of Joseph Stalin!
It is my favorite piece by Dimitri Shostakovich by far.
Why? I have the unrelentingly profoundest connection to it, far beyond any other symphonic masterpieces heard in my lifetime of 73 years.
Why am I so certain of that? The Shostakovich 10th Symphony is my guiding light to whatever dark recesses live within my own soul.
God willing, the lessons I repeatedly learn from this miraculous creation will inspire, hopefully, prayerfully and most inevitably… a similarly distinctive eruption out of myself.
The theme? The agony of imprisonment and an eventual liberation from such tyrannies.
The means for attaining such freedom? Look here!
Creativity itself takes our impressions of an animal, an elephant from the well-known cliché of its ignorance and this video carries it into a startling appreciation of that animal’s soul.
A step that much closer to the elephant’s divinity.
I’ve been unable to put the death of Robin Williams, his indisputable suicide, out of my mind.
Shostakovich, this elephant and Robin Williams?
Neither the composer, Shostakovich, nor the elephant chose suicide.
If an elephant can paint his own image, might he not also begin asking himself why he doesn’t have the authority, freedom and power of a human being?
Yet, Shostakovich, a human being, lived much of his life under the thumb of a savage dictator.
Why didn’t the composer despair in the same way in which Robin Williams seemed to have surrendered?
In the same way in which Robin Williams chose to “give up the ghost”?
Listen to the second movement of the Shostakovich 10th and hear its second movement as if it were the Parkinson’s disease descending upon Robin Williams: chillingly, overwhelmingly with its own vicious elation!!!
What do you do before that nightmare runs you over?!?!
It would seem to be not just music… that curse of Parkinson’s… but in a way it is!
One’s own music must and will change from any corner of life, let alone Parkinson’s!!
Does that mean one’s life must end?!?!?!
I don’t think so.
But we are not entirely in charge of that decision.
Once – God willing – my symphonies have begun to appear in the major symphonic repertoire and… I am still alive… thanks to God and even His sometimes disrespectful servants, plus a longevity which startles science itself (large order)… I dream of conducting the Shostakovich 10th. My own music will, in profound respect of the greatest of 20th Century Russian composers… yes, including both Stravinsky and Prokofiev… it will be the third and fourth movements of the 10th that, as they always tear my heart out, will hopefully carry my audience to that corner of existence in which Life’s fragility becomes its second most sacred attribute.
Life’s first and greatest ingredient?!
That which most sustains us?!
That which should always triumph?!!
Joseph Campbell: “Follow your bliss!!!!”
Not merely the “pursuit of happiness” but the hunt for Ecstasy!!!
“The Monster Is Dead!!!!!”
“Stalin is no more!!!!!”
Following our exaltation, again comes memories… visions that will haunt us to Eternity!
Yet we will, as the audience to this “monumental” performance of the Shostakovich 10th, thrill, exalt, hurl ourselves into ecstasy!
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.