James Tobin wrote:
>>Prokofiev's stock has declined as Shostakovich's has risen. In
>>recent years, one notes a tendency among writers to patronize him as a
>>shallow, though musical petite maitre, a psychological lightweight.
>Stravinsky tended to look down on him too, as I understand. But
>Prokofiev had a tremendous stylistic range, a distinctive voice, melodic
>and rhythmic inventiveness, and his tonality, if fairly traditional, was
>yet fresh and pungent. I consider him one of the best composers of the
I have never understood why, or at least it appears to me, that the music
of Shostakovich is given more attention than the music of Prokofiev.
I too, find a tremendous sytlistic range and a great range of expression.
I have wondered if the appeal of Shostakovich's music can be attributed
in part to the relative simplicity of his style and its direct communication
of expression. For me, only in his 4th Symphony, or the 15th Quartet,
did Shostakovich approach the depth of expression to be found in a work
like Prokofiev's Third Symphony.
When I listen, for example, to the first movement of the Shostakovich
11th Symphony, while I am caught up in its expression, I will look at
the score and say to myself, "so what's the big deal." There just doesn't
seem to be much to it.