Music, School of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-23-2010


A Doctoral Document Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, Major: Music, Under the Supervision of Professor Mark Clinton. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2010
Copyright (c) 2010 Denis V. Plutalov


This particular research is a tribute to Dmitry Shostakovich, who was not only a great composer, but also a great pianist and interpreter of his own works. Shostakovich is famous for the most part as a great symphonic and chamber composer. His piano works did not gain as much popularity as his large scale works. In fact they attracted very little attention from the modern generation of pianists. Shostakovich's Twenty-Four Preludes and Fugues op. 87 stand out among his piano works as a unique cycle, equaling Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier in its concept.

Chapter One provides an introduction to the subject matter and address the techniques used for the musical analysis. Chapters Two and Three feature information on Shostakovich's pianistic background and his performing style. They are based both on the impressions of his contemporaries and on his own recordings. The focus of this study lies in creating a comprehensive picture of the composer at the piano—a task which has never been completely fulfilled before. The fifth chapter deals with the analysis of Shostakovich's recorded performance of eighteen preludes and fugues, focusing on specific details such as tempos, dynamics, articulation and pedaling and their relevance to the printed score. The understanding of the composer's own interpretation of the work is a necessary tool toward a better comprehension and interpretation of his music. In other words, a close analysis of Shostakovich's performance should result in a newly revised publication of his piano works, which would incorporate the composer's specific tempo indications, dynamics, articulation and pedaling. The appendices include information on Shostakovich's compositional dates and recordings of his preludes and fugues.

Advisor: Mark Clinton

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