Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Completion of "A Career"

As some of you may know, I recently completed my thesis on Dmitri Shostakovich's Thirteenth Symphony. I quote from Laurel Fay's Shostakovich: A Life:

"In his score, Shostakovich dated the completion of the movements... The final movement of the symphony, "A Career," was dated 20 July 1962, a date that... Shostakovich would commemorate for the rest of his life." (pg. 229)

In honor of the man and his music, and in the spirit of continuing the celebration, posted below is the Yevtushenko poem Shostakovich set. I plan on listening to the movement and spending a moment or two reflecting on the text. As Shostakovich said, "Every morning, instead of morning prayers, I reread–well, recite from memory–two poems by Yevtushenko, "Boots" and "A Career." "Boots" is conscience. "A Career" is morality. One should not be deprived of conscience. To lose conscience is to lose everything. And conscience needs to be instilled from earliest childhood." (pg. 229)


The clergy maintained that Galileo
Was a wicked and senseless man.
(Galileo was senseless.)
But, as time demonstrated,
He who is senseless is much wiser.

A fellow scientist of Galileo's age
Was no less wise than Galileo.
He knew that the earth revolved.
But - he had a family.

And he, stepping into a carriage with his wife,
Having accomplished his betrayal,
Considered himself advancing his career,
Whereas he undermined it,

For his assertion of our planet
Galileo faced the risk alone
And became truly great.

Now this
To my mind, this is a true careerist!

Thus - salute to the career!
When the career is similar
To Shakespeare and Pasteur,
Newton and Tolstoy,
And Tolstoy.
Why was mud flung at them?
Talent is talent, brand them as one may.

Those who cursed them are forgotten.
But the accursed are remembered well,
All those who yearned for the stratosphere,
The doctors who perished fighting cholera,
They were pursuing a career!

I take as an example their careers.

I believe in their sacred belief.
Their belief is my courage.
I pursue my career
By not pursuing it!

No comments:

Post a Comment