Karl asks for me to explain myself:
>>I certainly wouldn't. In fact, to me Shostakovich writes tighter than
>>Prokofiev, generally speaking.
>Could you elaborate a bit on this. Not quite sure I understand.
I'm thinking of a comparison like Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante to
Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 2. To me, the first wanders a bit,
possibly because the themes are fuzzier, less memorable than the second.
With Prokofiev, I quite get a kind of meandering -- less of an argument
moving directly from point A to B. It often results in something richer
(as in the 8th piano sonata) than you get from Shostakovich, who has the
virtues of concentration -- the sense of picking up listeners and carrying
them along to the end.
Of course, there are exceptions in both men's output. I can't think of
anything more direct than "The Battle on the Ice," the Classical Symphony,
the scherzo to Prokofiev's fifth symphony, the love music of Romeo and
Juliet, or the finale of his seventh piano sonata. On the other hand,
Shostakovich's 2nd and 3rd symphonies are pretty fuzzy to me.
Prokofiev composed in bits and pieces and tended to look for joins.
Shostakovich seems to me a composer who, like Mahler, worked with classical
forms constantly in his head, and though the time scale might be expanded,
I suspect you could relate just about any large-scale piece by him to
some classical form. In other words, one works more organically, the
other more "classically."