Editorial: The Shostakovich of the new

Dmitri Shostakovich was a surprise nominee for a prestigious Ivor Novello award, especially given he died nearly 40 years ago

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There’s a long and distinguished tradition of snatches of classical music finding their way into pop songs – going all the way back to Manfred Mann appropriating Gustav Holst, and beyond. Last year, it was Dmitri Shostakovich who got the treatment when the singer-songwriter Plan B sampled a passage of the great Russian composer’s seventh symphony in his hit “Ill Manors”. Now Shostakovich, who died in 1975, has been nominated for an Ivor Novello award after being credited as one of the song’s co-writers.

Composing his music under the watchful eye of his Soviet cultural overlords, Shostakovich was adept at pleasing the authorities while managing to convey the profound humanity that made his music some of the greatest of the 20th century. It is good to see that his powers of infiltration have not deserted him, and that they are being given due acknowledgement.

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