An Alliterative and Antonymous Allegory

Richard Sheinin reviews the San Francisco Symphony and Shostakovich’s rich Ninth resoundingly shabbily.

The San Francisco Symphony is playing a program of pure pleasure this week.

“Pure pleasure,” although an alliterative clichĂ©, suggests, to me anyways, that the Symphony’s program is the best pleasure one can have—it is so “pure” it is not adulterated by anything, like fear, pain, despair, etc. You know, things that are not pleasurable. Sounds great to me! I love not being in despair. That’s why this wily statement sounds orchidaceously odd.

After intermission came a flowering of comedy,

Pleasurable. See?


Neither here nor there, but not really pleasurable. Right?

dread and mockery: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 in E-flat major composed in 1945.

Jesus. Christ!

The soviet authorities expected Shostakovich to deliver a triumphant work for chorus, soloists and mega-orchestra, celebrating the Red Army victory in World War II. The composer instead delivered his shortest symphony, a barbed commentary on the dismal life lying ahead for the Russians [sic].

Now I’m depressed, not pleased.

Richard, reap the rewards of an outline. Pronto pal!