13 December 2008

Corrective Without Backlash

I do remember . . . we were rehearsing the Eighth Symphony for a forthcoming performance in the concert season. Dmitri Dmitriyevich had come up to Leningrad as usual for the rehearsal. In the break Mravinsky turned round to us and said, ‘Do you know, I have this impression that here in this place Dmitri Dmitriyevich has omitted something; there’s a discrepancy between the harmonies of these chords as they appear here and where they occur elsewhere. I’ve always wanted to ask Dmitri Dmitriyevich about this point, but somehow I have never got round to it.’

Just at this moment, Dmitri Dmitriyevich himself came up to Mravinsky, who put the question to him without further ado. Dmitri Dmitriyevich glanced at the score: ‘Oh dear, what a terrible omission, what an error I have committed. But you know what, let’s leave it as it is, just let things stay as they are.’ We then understood that this ‘error’ was deliberate.

Yakov Milkis, violinist with the Leningrad Philharmonic, quoted in Shostakovich: A Life Remembered, Second Edition by Elizabeth

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