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Abstract

This paper compares the two piano trios that Shostakovich wrote in 1923 and 1944 respectively ("Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor Op. 8" and "Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor Op. 67") through harmony, with a view to spotting the change of Shostakovich's compositional meaning, if not style, and how and why did Shostakovich do so. While harmony and form may seemingly be an abstraction of music itself, they are imperative in deciphering the compositional process and thus extra-musical meaning registered by the composer. The paper also redefines the process of "de-Stalinization", explains the meaning of it, and proposes three new levels of reconsidering the term. In previous scholarship of Shostakovich studies, there is a scant attention on the integration of historical background and theoretical application. This paper combines the two realms, putting theories into the historical context of the Soviet Union, which, I hope, will be conducive to the future interpretation of "de-Stalinization" as well as the composer's music.

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