Pet Sounds: Hiroko Itakura

Pet Sounds: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department reflect on a piece of music or song. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

SM532px.jpg Shostakovich wrote Piano Concerto No. 2 as a birthday present for his son Maxim

Music amuses us, raises our spirits, and consoles us.

Sounds, key signature, rhythm, and tempo are all chosen carefully to create meaning, just like how we choose words to talk and write essays.

Composers create music for many reasons: for the sake of art itself, to reach out for the audience out there, or because music is what they are.

Composers also make music to earn a living, pay the rent, and support family. They therefore sometimes have to compromise their work.

Which pieces become ‘true’ music and stand the test of time? Who are the judges?

I think Dmitri Shostakovich is one of the composers who had to make a lot of compromise in his musical artistry amid political upheavals and censorship. Some of his pieces he kept in a drawer and they were never performed during his lifetime but many have surpassed it, like this one composed for his son’s birthday:

I guess we all have to trust ourselves and have faith in what we decide do and be our own judge.


HirokoHiroko Itakura is Associate Professor at the Department of English. [Click here to read all entries by Hiroko.]

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