||A major tonality
firmly established. There is some tonal ambiguity in bar 2 (hints at C sharp
||The figuration is
decidedly Baroque, initially employing a two-part text texture that parodies
Bach’s opening of the Prelude in D major from the Well-tempered Clavier,
||RH chordal motif,
against which Shostakovich uses the opening fragment of the initial RH
||Although the LH
fragment is used chiefly to allow the music to modulate to f-sharp minor, it
also calls to mind the antithetical practices of Baroque keyboard
||LH move to F sharp
minor (the relative minor of A major). RH the same as bar 1, but beats 3 and 4
||A subtle way of
varying the opening motif – note how the F-sharp pedal alters the tonality
whilst keeping the same melodic outline.
||RH not as close to
bar 2 as bar 4 was to bar 1. Harmonic ambiguity: this material seems to have
been conceived for presentation over an A major bass note (pedal), not an F#
||The juxtaposition of
the two is interesting to the ear, a technique that is also used by other
Russian composers, including Kabalevsky.
||RH chordal motif,
extended from beats 2-3-4 in bar 3 to 2-3-4-1 in both bars 6-7 and 7-8. The
latter resolves gracefully in a downward direction. LH quaver triads and
semiquaver turns, initially emphasizing E major (dominant key), through D# (bar
6), but then shifting emphasis to the dominant chord in A major.
||E major (with
flattened 7th) reached.
the motif by an extra bar, using pitch-peaks to increase the
||RH takes same rhythm
as bar 5, but includes chromatic harmony, momentarily touching on C major (beat
1), F major (beat 3) and, with a harmonic twist occurring with the D-flat in
beat 4, taking the music to
||What is Shostakovich
doing? The grotesque twists and turns of the harmony create a series of
ambiguities throughout this bar - ideally, the D-flat (enharmonic C-sharp)
could be seen to be preparing the ear for the dominant chord of D major. Could
there also be a touch of b-flat minor here as well?
||the dominant of A
major (beat 1, still with the E bass). Beat 2: Strong A major emphasis,
heightened by bar 12 repeating the phrase heard in bars 11, 6 and 3, rather
than that of bar 7: the tonality appears to be heading for C# (3rd note of A
major), not its eventual goal of B-natural (dominant note of E major).
||Proceeds smoothly to
III (C# major), realised by E# in bar 13.
chromaticism, and shorter, overlapping phrases (stretto).
||This passage is
certainly more personal to Shostakovich than the Bach-inspired imitation that
|13.2 to 14
descent from G-sharp to C-sharp. Note that D-sharp is excluded.
chromatic motif, of particular emotional import, as is the
||LH A-sharp at the
start of bar 16. Chord motif subverted to produce
||‘Shock’ chord on bar
17, beat 1. The tonality is taken where the harmonic implications of the
‘shock’ chord dictate: F major
||E major 7 (which
initially resolves to F major) persists, strengthening the ear’s assumption
that bar 19 will be one semitone higher than Shostakovich actually wrote
||flat chord IV (21)
and flat chord III, flat chord IV (22). Behaves like a parenthesis: the
contrapuntal, linear interest is stilled by thud of homophony in this ‘prayer
||This technique is
also found in string quartets 1, 4, 5, 9 and 11, so it forms a kind of personal
||The chordal motif is
simplified to form a pedal against the most direct quotation from Bach’s source
material. The arpeggiated figure is treated in fragmentation to flag end of
||The prelude simply
dies away to nothing, hence the nearly complete bar of rests at the