D.Shostakovich, 34/7; Healthy Habitat

I do enjoy a piece which has the melody in the bass. I feel a little sorry for the poor left hand sometimes and like to see it have the fore in Chopin's "Cello" Etude, or B minor Prelude. I think the idea of the cello is a perfect way to audiate a melody like the one we have here in Shosy's Prelude No. 7 in A Major. What's best is that the cello begins with her own lonely and curious cadenza, establishing A Major, then obscuring it in measure three with flattened seventh and sixth scale degrees. I'm going to go ahead and identify the two major motifs I've found in this piece. The first is in the third beat of measure four, a wiggling sixteenth note anacrusis. Well call this motif Alpha, just to be erudite and hip. Motif Beta, if you will, is related to Alpha and is revealed in measure 10 in the right hand. It's sort of an augmentation of Alpha, this time waddling downwards. Beta is strengthened by an imitative echo in measure 11 by the left hand. (The suggestion of imitative counterpoint was suggested at measure 6.) Then, tired of going down, Beta climbs a ladder in measures 15 and 16, a whole tone ladder that leads us to the triumphant arrival of the tonic at 17! Hooray!

Finally we see Alpha and Beta together after the second cello cadenza, the coda. The sparse elements of this coda are highlighted by their dissimilarity and register: Alpha mumbles on the sea floor. Beta, this time quarter notes, remembers the glory of the celestial stair, while Chopin's raindrop patters out the tonic, a Platonic shadow of 17's beautiful climax. Lastly I'd like to point out that there are 5 espressivo markings in this piece. For all its strangeness I find it to be cohesive and satisfying and tender. No warring elements or jarring surprises. Just organic ripples building in a spring rain. Play this one for your sweetheart!

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