Posts Tagged ‘Shostakovitch’


April 26, 2013

First an obvious admittance, for anyone who may be interested or indeed looking.

This is the first posting for over a year.

Believe me, I have thought about and intended and even desired to start again but there has been something in me which has said “there’s so much stuff, a saturated world, a deep, drowning sea of words and images, there in the wide ether; just who is either interested in or is actually reading this?”. I have never bothered with Facebook (funny how that word isn’t recognised without the capital F; it makes me wonder when keyboards will come with a obligatory ‘TM’ key) and even though I have a Twitter account I have never used it. I just think to all that… “SO WHAT…?” Does it really matter if I am one of the first or indeed any of the ones who is able to comment on some insignificant thing happening, or are people really interested in what I made myself to eat this lunchtime? If everyone is doing this, i.e. making lunch, photographing it and posting it on Facebook who is actually reading what is sent? and who REALLY cares? It is pointless. When I think about the incredible achievements in science, art and humanity of our ancestors I am utterly dismayed by how we have become sheep to gadgetry, to the accumulations of computerised computing. I salute the few who still do not know how to even turn a computer on. Such irony; it is such a useful tool and yet such a curse.

I have long been thinking about creativity and restriction. I intend to say much more about this but this is something I consider a lot; the composer Shostakovich was on the verge of exploring modernism, possibly with a view to developing it further. We could say that unfortunately Stalin got in the way. Because he did, we have music which had to find its expression using a language which was already understood but underneath was coded with a subversive anger and energy. Even on the surface, the humanity of the music in all its expressions is there. Thank goodness for it. It is both tough and delicate, raw and melodic and as ‘modern’ as it could ever be. It is like poetry which rhymes, like Larkin’s, or like the POW drawings of Ronald Searle’s. It is not governed by dry intellectualism but recognises the limits of just what is audible. It recognises humanity and instead of being determinedly aloof, it communicates and welcomes people in. It refuses to pander to the fashion, it is produced within restrictions and because of these restrictions it flourishes.

As painters we have the boundary of the rectangle but to be great we have to push even further, all the time yet  still within that boundary, otherwise we are just servants, slaves to fashion, producers of bourgeois decoration to bloat an already saturated world. However, we still have to speak a recognisable language; we must communicate in a non-condescending, non-patronising form.

There is still much to be done, much within ourselves, to dig deeper to really, properly say what we mean. We must not be afraid to embrace tradition but we must strive to shun cliché.