• Charles-Bukowski.054-min-min
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28. Shostakovich: 1st Symphony


[…] got it down so tight the hinges squeaked.
threw out all three cats
drove over the two bridges
picked up $414.00 at the harness races
came in
listened to Shostakovitch’s First
[…]
bathed while drinking a bottle of chilled white wine
then towelled off
got into bed
legs pointed east
I inhaled
then let it out:
the pain and defeat of the world.
then I slept like a baby

Excerpt from Take It by Charles Bukowski 


Classical music can help you sleep like a baby. Chopin's Nocturnes will do the trick. Bach composed his Goldberg Variations for Count Kaiserling, so Johann Golberg could play them for him to fight his insomnia. Shostakovich 1st Symphony is not the most obvious choice, unless you’re capable of sleeping with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight.

Shostakovich wrote his 1st Symphony while in school at age 19. With the exception of Brahms, first symphonies are rarely a composers best symphonic work. Beethoven’s blundering First should be avoided like the plague. Shostakovich is somewhere in the middle. His first attempt is not his best work, but his lively yet tragic composition has always remained popular for good reason.

Recommended recording:
Kirill Kondrashin & Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra

Trust me, Kondrashin & the Moscow PO remain unsurpassed when it comes to Shostakovich’ recordings.

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