Ramezani and a large number of scholars and musicians, including Nader Mashayekhi, attended a ceremony organized on Friday evening at Tehran’s Rudaki Hall to introduce the book named “Shostakovich Symphonies and Concertos”.
A book of the same title by Hurwitz was published in 2006.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ramezani said, “As a student, when I was studying at the Iranian Academy of Music, I was assigned the task to research on Shostakovich’s Symphony 1.”
“It was amazing that someone had been able to compose such a great symphony at the age of 18, and at that time, I had contemplated whether I could do the same thing at 18. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but this was the first time I had learned something about Shostakovich,” he added.
Ramezani said that his desire to study about Shostakovich increased when he read Hurwitz’s book on the Soviet-era composer and pianist. He was really convinced that the materials in Hurwitz’s book of some 250-odd pages could be developed.
The idea to expand the book was warmly received by Hurwitz, who also encouraged Ramezani to continue his studies on the topic.
“I also conducted some interviews with Hurwitz for the book and the outcome is what has been published in the 652 pages of the book,” Ramezani said.
Examples of Shostakovich’s symphonies and concertos on DVDs have also been offered along with the book.
Former conductor of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra Mashayekhi also delivered a speech and said that he has been waiting for the publication of such book in Iran and called “Shostakovich Symphonies and Concertos” one of the most important books published in the field of music in the country.
“This book can familiarize us technically with the much wider dimensions of Shostakovich’s artistic character,” he noted.
“This book has attempted to analyze the marvelous character of Shostakovich from the political and social viewpoints; it also provides new insights into his personality,” he added.
The book was published by Naay-o-Ney in early October. The second edition will soon be released.
Shostakovich is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century, with a unique harmonic language and historic importance due to his years of work under Stalin.
His orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His chamber compositions include 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two piano trios, and two pieces for string octet. His solo piano works include two sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues.
Hurwitz’s book “Shostakovich Symphonies and Concertos: An Owner's Manual” was published on May 1, 2006, by Amadeus Press.
In this book, Hurwitz said that the fall of the Soviet empire has not diminished the popularity of Shostakovich’s great symphonies and concertos one bit, despite the fact that most literature on him neglects any substantive discussion of the music itself in favor of biographical speculation on the relationship between the composer and the political climate of the day.
The book was the first to provide a detailed, descriptive analysis of the 21 symphonies and concertos, work by work, explaining not just why they are significant documents of their time and place, but why they are great music in general. It offers readers an understanding of why Shostakovich’s music enjoys the enduring support of performers and listeners alike, and how it generally fits into the grand tradition of Western classical music.