There’s a reason why the most fucked up scenes of all time are imbued with classical tunes. Ain’t nobody does crazy quite like classical. The stabbing strings in Psycho, the irrational sonic layers of dissonance as Jack figures out he’s kissing some old corpse in The Shining, and that rumbling percussion as a tiny woman in a red coat fucks John’s shit up with a meat clever in Don’t Look Now. If you were to take the crazy train from Captain Beefheart, The Residents, or any other experimental fuck you’d eventually follow those demented and deranged tracks all the way back to Shostakovitch. And the dude isn’t a one emotion wonder. The emotional depth, the dynamic range, the evocative sonic waves that flow through Shostakovitch are just bigger and grander than anything else. The melody can go from a gently sobbing onto the kitchen floor to two-fingering an eye out its socket in less than a minute without feeling jarring. Like I said, ain’t nobody does crazy quite like classical.
The crazy ups and downs of Shostakovitch’s Cello Concerto No. 1 is why cellists love getting down with its sickness. Not only does it show off their skills, it proudly tells the world they don’t give a fuck. If you ever find yourself in front of a cellist wanting to lay down these tracks, shut the fuck up, sit back, and enjoy the show. Shit’s legit. Anastasia Kobekina plays Shostakovitch extremely well. She rips open the cello like it’s a wet paper bag going through a self-harm phase. The woman’s got talent coming out her pores. I could list out how young she was when she first started playing, the other virtuosos she’s played alongside, the fact that the third composer featured on this album (Vladimir Kobekin) is her dad (the track is 5 whole minutes long), but instead I’ll simply say that’s she’s really fucking good and leave it at that. We’ve got a whole other kettle of fish to boil and fry because these Shostakovitch tracks aren’t the biggest jams on this motherfucker.
I brought up Mieczyslaw (Moisey) Weinberg (Vaynberg, Vainberg, Wajnberg, Vijnberg) and his many names before. The only way to carry that many last names is if you were a Jew jumping around Europe and hiding your identity sometime around the ’40s. He earned every one of those fucking titles. Opus 52 was written around ’51 to ’53 and it’s a piece that kicks you in the fucking teeth and still keeps you smiling. Moisey was living in the Soviet Union cause his bestie, Shostakovich, told him it was a good call (thanks Shosty!). Moisey was making bread by composing music for theatres and the circus. His father-in-law got iced by Stalin (’48) and Moisey got arrested basically for walking while Jewish. Moisey had his ass saved when Stalin suddenly croaked. In the midst of all this all of this, motherfucker wrote this opus. Does this orchestra have some excitement, drama, and intrigue? You bet your fucking ass it does. It’s got three saxophones, a hammond organ, and a sarrusophone (which sounds like a dubstep saxophone fucked a tuba). Anastasia doesn’t just hold her own, she steals the fucking show. Only a bestie of Shosty could lay down such dramatic cello jams. Anastasia stands on top of both of these orchestrations and proves to the world that’s she’s not someone to fuck with. She wields the bow like a wizard conjuring storms. She dives headfirst into these deep, beautiful, chaotic, and grand-as-fuck pieces and comes out seemingly refreshed and ready for more. If a band like The Doors tried to prove their craziness by taking some acid and playing with a lighter, Moisey and Shosty respond by blowing up a hospital, time-travelling, and shitting into the fountain of youth. Because ain’t nobody does crazy quite like classical.