Friday, April 11, 2008

Alternative Musicology: Screwy Music History From Bosch on Public Transit

A few months ago I attended a concert at the Chicago Symphony with a friend, and Shostakovitch's second cello concerto was on the program. The piece is intense, using the solo cello as a representation of a semi-autobiographical figure weaving through a Russia reconstructed through memories. After a pretty tortured first and second movement, the third movement is an curious amalgam of mini-themes and musical bits that interrupt each other in an endless hunt for a cadence. Occasionally the orchestra would break from a heavy string passage to this thumping 4/4 beat accompanied by heavy bass backing and a tambourine hitting the off-beats. This enormous musical shift made my friend and I suddenly turn and look at each other- it sounded so modern, so out of place, so much like...hip hop? Could that be? Was this some practical joke? But the theme came back again, with the same familiar sound balance and stomp that sounded like it came from an old De La Soul album. I finally picked up a recording of this baffling piece, and was compelled to share this curious passage with the world in order to prove that Shostakovitch invented hip hop.
Enjoy-

10 comments:

Davey D said...

You have no clue what you are talking about. Hip hop is a cultural tradition that includes music, dance, art and fashion. The music was built on the backs of DJs who sampled mostly funk artists from the 60s and 70s. Would Grandmaster Flash have sampled Shostakovitch? Maybe. But that doesn't make Shostakovitch that originator of hip hop. Silly.

I am hoping this post was offered with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek.

Bosch on Public Transit said...

It's definately tongue in cheek, dude.

Regardless, I have to say that the bits of the Symphony were surprisingly modern. Even if Shostakovitch didn't originate hip hop, he was still a fucking badass.

davey d said...

word.

Mr. Bacon said...

Congratulations. That's fucking fantastic.

But after listening a few times, I can't decide if he invented hip hop, or maybe house?

Speaking of Shosty's cello concerti, ahem, I've always wondered if the opening theme from his first is based on the second (I think) movement of Mahler's 4th symphony...apprently Dmitri's four-note motive was a representation of his name (D. Sch.), but it's remarkably similar to the Mahler.

Maria's Music said...

There is a pretty "phat" beat in the first movement of Glass's 8th Symphony. I suppose he isn't early enough to be the originator of hip hop though.

dougphoto said...

great post I loved the sonic weaving I just wish you could have boosted your stars audio.

langdell said...

I've long felt that a case could be made that Meredith Willson invented rap in the 1950s. Just listen to the rhythmically-spoken opening number of "The Music Man" to say nothing of "Trouble".

Adrian said...

I usually have my 2nd Movement around 11:45 am, after my morning coffee has processed.

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