Real music is always revolutionary, for it cements the ranks of the people; it arouses them and leads them onward.

— Dmitri Shostakovich

The most passioned Dmitri Shostakovich quotes that will inspire your inner self

Music is a means capable of expressing dark dramatism and pure rapture, suffering and ecstasy, fiery and cold fury, melancholy and wild merriment – and the subtlest nuances and interplay of these feelings which words are powerless to express and which are unattainable in painting and sculpture.


Every piece of music is a form of personal expression for its creator.

..If a work doesnt express the composers own personal point of view, his own ideas, then it doesnt, in my opinion, even deserve to be born.


A creative artist works on his next composition because he was not satisfied with his previous one.


A great piece of music is beautiful regardless of how it is performed.

Any prelude or fugue of Bach can be played at any tempo, with or without rhythmic nuances, and it will still be great music. That's how music should be written, so that no-one, no matter how philistine, can ruin it.


What you have in your head, put down on paper. The head is a fragile vessel.


A great piece of music is beautiful regardless of how it is performed.


The most uninteresting part of the biography of a composer is his childhood.

All those preludes are the same and the reader hurries on to the fugue.


The best way to hold on to something is to pay no attention to it.

The things you love too much perish. You have to treat everything with irony, especially the things you hold dear. There's more of a chance then that they'll survive.


Stravinsky the composer I worship. Stravinsky the thinker I despise.


The real geniuses know where their writing has to be good and where they can get away with some mediocrity.


Football is the ballet of the masses.


I don't know what will become of this piece.

Our brave critics will no doubt charge me with imitating Ravel's Bolero. Too bad - this is how I hear war.


About Dmitri Shostakovich

Quotes 32 sayings
Profession Composer
Birthday October 16

What can be considered human emotions? Surely not only lyricism, sadness, tragedy? Doesn't laughter also have a claim to that lofty title? I want to fight for the legitimate right of laughter in "serious" music.


I always try to make myself as widely understood as possible;

and if I don't succeed, I consider it my own fault.


I live in the USSR, work actively and count naturally on the worker and peasant spectator. If I am not comprehensible to them I should be deported.


People knew about Babi Yar before Yevtushenko's poem, but they were silent.

And when they read the poem, the silence was broken. Art destroys silence.


We should think more about it, and accustom ourselves to the thought of death.

We can't allow the fear of death to creep up on us unexpectedly. We have to make the fear familiar, and one way is to write about it. I don't think writing and thinking about death is characteristic only of old men. I think that if people began thinking about death sooner, they'd make fewer foolish mistakes.


When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.


The majority of my symphonies are tombstones.


He fell like a chicken into the soup.


Music is good, not evil. Poetry is good, not evil. Primitive, but oh, so true!


It's about the people, who have stopped believing because the cup of evil has run over.


Our business is rejoicing, our business is rejoicing.


If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth.


I don't think that either self-deprecation or self-aggrandizement is among the defining qualities of an artist... Beethoven could have been forgiven if his symphonies had gone to his head. Gretchaninoff could also be forgiven if his Dobrinya Nikititch went to his head. But neither one could be forgiven for writing a piece that was amoral, servile, the work of a flunky.


Many consider that Shostakovich is the greatest 20th-century composer.

In his 15 symphonies, 15 quartets, and in other works he demonstrated mastery of the largest and most challenging forms with music of great emotional power and technical invention...All his works are marked by emotional extremes - tragic intensity, grotesque and bizarre wit, humour, parody, and savage sarcasm.


Those who have ears to hear, will hear


In the long run, any words about music are less important than the music.


I think it is clear to everyone what happens in the Fifth .

The rejoicing is forced, created under threat, as in Boris Godunov . It's as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, "Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing," and you rise, shaky, and go marching off, muttering, "Our business is rejoicing, our business is rejoicing.


I write music, it’s performed. After all, my music says it all. It doesn’t need historical and hysterical commentaries. In the long run, any words about music are less important than the music.


I feel eternal pain for those who were killed by Hitler, but I feel no less pain for those killed on Stalin's orders. I suffer for everyone who was tortured, shot, or starved to death.

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