I Wish I Was Allowed To Like Shostakovich, Says Young Composer

John Man, young music student and resolute vacillator, says his favourite composer is definitely Andriessen or someone like that.

“I have such cutting edge and modern tastes,” he explained. “My favourite pieces of music are ones that haven’t been written yet. You can’t argue with that!”

Man is a composer himself, and will surely compose something one day soon, when he or the world is ready. But for the time being he is devoted to music almost as new as that, or newer.

“I’m totally committed to the newest of the new,” he explained. “Just yesterday I was listening to a piece by Cassandra Miller, and I didn’t even bother me that she is a woman. #avantguardian.”

But recently Man has been troubled by a disturbing phenomenon, almost as if the two hemispheres of his brain turned out not to be hexachordally combinatorial despite a lengthy pre-compositional process. “I heard a symphony by Shostakovich the other day without realising it was by him,” he said. “It was being played on something called a radio. Anyway, before I had a chance to realise, I found myself enjoying it. I almost threw myself onto a score aleatorically.”

Man hasn’t told his composer colleagues yet, because he is afraid that he may never be allowed to attend another meeting of #guardianclub. He wouldn’t even know how to broach such a taboo subject, not to mention the counter-subject, let alone any free episodic material developed with playful allusiveness.

“At first I thought that the Shostakovich ‘piece’ might have been some film music by Thomas Adès that I could at least say I enjoyed ironically,” he said, “or perhaps it was some type of opera without voices written by a holocaust victim I could fully get behind. But no, it was just Shostakovich, with his weird time-based ‘melody’ aesthetic. If I didn’t know any better I’d say it was good!”

Thankfully, Man knows that Shostakovich is not good, but now he can’t seem to stop himself from thinking it is good, which is strange because normally Man only thinks what he knows. “I could probably solve this problem by just thinking what I think and enjoying what I enjoy,” he said ruefully, “but there just isn’t the audience for that now.”