Shuffle Synchronicities 254

"Jazz Suite No.2: 4. Waltz I" by Dmitri Shostakovich - 09/28/21

Welcome again to Shuffle Synchronicities by me, Dave Cowen.

An unusual mix of music & memoir.

Every day I Shuffle my Spotify Liked Songs playlist (42,080 and counting), then write how the song Synchronizes with my life and maybe yours ;)

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"Jazz Suite No.2: 4. Waltz I" by Dmitri Shostakovich writes of this album:

”Shostakovich: the enigma. Like George Gershwin (to some degree), Shostakovich could produce music that was, on the one hand, highly entertaining, full of rhythm and harmony, and on the other hand, create enormous, deeply-felt music in his symphonies, chamber works, instrumental sonatas, and his Second Piano Concerto.

The CD in discussion was Gramophone magazine's ‘choice,’ with the following note: ‘Colorful, Chaplinesque ... the playing here is quite superb ... good-humoured, affectionate and utterly professional.’

Shostakovich, being the musically curious person that he was, would frequently attend concerts given by visiting jazz musicians. He found himself enormously delighted with a jazz band that he heard accompanying a ‘Negro operetta’ as early as 1925. The political powers-to-be in Russia, however, regarded jazz music as being suspicious; they were thus hostile towards jazz, believing it to be decadent to Russian society and culture. As early as 1934, Shostakovich made attempts to write his music in a jazz idiom. His idea was to raise Russian jazz music from café-style music to a professional level. A competition was created in Leningrad, and to have others join with him in writing jazz music, Shostakovich created his Jazz Suite No. 1, consisting of three dance titles: Waltz, Polka, Foxtrot. The suite lasts about eight brief minutes. But more was to come!

The Second Jazz Suite consists of more dance names, only more of them coming in with eight sections. The Second Suite takes its roots from Vienna and the music of Johann Strauss, which points its way more forwardly towards the Red Army.

Over all, on one disc we have an opportunity to hear the ‘lighter’ size, or ‘jazzy’ side of one of Russia's great composers of the twentieth century.”

If there’s a synchronicity, it has to do with last night’s tennis game.

I mentioned yesterday that I played on Sunday at LA’s most famous Jewish country club in Beverly Hills.

Well, last night, I played at a public country club at the top of the Verdugo Mountains in Glendale.

Me, the Russian-American Jewish person.

With a friend of a friend and their friend: two African-American people.

In the first set, I played with the African-American man against the African-American female and the set went to a tie-breaker, which I and the African-American man won.

In the second set, I played by myself against the two of them and the score went to 5-0 in my favor.

They were good-humoredly making fun of me for ‘hustling them’, joking that they were glad there was no money on the game.

I remember that as I called out the score before serving: ‘5, um, nothing’, the African-American woman affectionately said ‘5 love’.

In tennis, love is a word that represents a score of zero, and has been used as such since the late 1800s.

It's not perfectly clear how this usage of love came to be, but the most accepted theory is that those with zero points were still playing for the ‘love of the game’ despite their losing score.

The two of them went on to win the next two games.

Before I closed it out 6-2 :)

Like Shostakovich’s music, it was ‘highly entertaining, full of rhythm and harmony.’

Okay, that’s the two hundred and fifty-fourth Shuffle Synchronicities.