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Top of Page    Presentation  Preludes and Fugues opus 87    Some Arrangements     Many Thanks!

The Shostakovich Opus 87 Page

(featuring the complete collection of 
Preludes and Fugues in MIDI format)

all sequenced by:

José Oscar de Almeida Marques 

The fugues in this page are featured 
in the Shostakovich section of Kunst der Fuge 

Visit Kunst der Fuge - a great site for Fugues!


Top of Page    Presentation  Preludes and Fugues opus 87    Some Arrangements     Many Thanks!


Welcome to my little page! This is a simple place - no frames, no big pictures, just a simple home for my MIDI sequences of Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues opus 87, a place where people can come to and listen to the music or download the files easily and quickly. I hope you'll enjoy your visit and come back again to see if there's anything new.

I made these sequences between January and April 1997, were originally posted on alt.binaries.sounds.midi.classical, and are also available on Les Winter's MIDIWorld - an outstanding and innovative site for classical MIDIs (see below). As far as I know, they may exist in some other sites too, but this page is their official repository and always contains the latest revised versions (not to mention that it is only here that you will find my arrangements...).

These files were made by entering all notes manually via a notation software editor - I didn't use a scanner nor played the music on a keyboard. The score I followed was published in 1972, in Moscow, by the State Publishers "Music" (see picture of the cover below). I was able to spot and correct some few obvious misprints, but on the whole I think it is fairly accurate, although I still would like to check it against the Dover and Sikorski editions. Please let me know if you find any wrong or dubious notes.

Some technical informations: the sequences are type 1 MIDI files following the General MIDI standard and emplying multiple channels (right and left hands in the Preludes, and a separate channel for each voice in the Fugues) with a slight stereo separation. They include some effects (chorus, reverb) and were optimally balanced for the SB AWE32 Creative Labs. soundcard equipped with the E-Mu 8 MB GM soundfont. They sound very good on my system and should sound even better on any higher quality sample-based device.

Lastly, some necessary disclaimer: notice that these MIDI files constitute no more than a tool for study and analytical listening. They do comprise some expressive devices, but lack nevertheless the essential nuances that characterize a performance by a human player, and can't serve as a substitute for the listening of real performances, whether live or recorded. And although a crude score can be printed from them, the parsing of staves won't be fitting for piano playing and, especially, it will lack all phrasing and expressive marks present in the original. These files will contribute to the knowledge of and interest for the music of Shostakovich, without taking the place of any commercially available item, and in this sense I believe they comply with the accepted conventions about the fair use of copyrighted material.

Top of Page    Presentation  Preludes and Fugues opus 87    Some Arrangements     Many Thanks!

24 Preludes and Fugues opus 87
These pieces are arguably the most important part of Shostakovich's piano output. They were written in 1950-1951, just after he visited Leipzig on the occasion of the festivities of the bicentenary of J. S. Bach's death, and, as such, represent his homage to the author of the Well-Tempered Clavier. What was originally planned as a simple series of polyphonic exercises developed into a full-fledged large scale work where the most different pianistic genres are admirably fitted together into a coherent panel. The diversity of styles and techniques sometimes smacks of a pasticcio, but the collection is remarkable as a point of consolidation of the author's former compositional strands, and the music, of course, is vintage Shostakovich, with that peculiar mixture of verve and pathos which is perennially so fascinating. 

Last revision
Prelude no. 1 in C major op87_01a.mid 17 KB Feb 11 1997
Fugue no. 1 in C major op87_01b.mid 8 KB Feb 11 1997
Prelude no. 2 in A minor op87_02a.mid 6 KB Feb 11 1997
Fugue no. 2 in A minor  op87_02b.mid 8 KB Feb 11 1997
Prelude no. 3 in G major op87_03a.mid 7 KB Feb 13 1997
Fugue no. 3 in G major op87_03b.mid 12 KB Feb 13 1997
Prelude no. 4 in E minor op87_04a.mid 6 KB Mar 21 1997
Fugue no. 4 in E minor op87_04b.mid 17 KB Mar 19 1997
Prelude no. 5 in D major op87_05a.mid 8 KB Mar 01 1997
Fugue no. 5 in D major op87_05b.mid 9 KB Mar 01 1997
Prelude no. 6 in B minor op87_06a.mid 7 KB Mar 20 1997
Fugue no. 6 in B minor op87_06b.mid 16 KB Mar 21 1997
Prelude no. 7 in A major op87_07a.mid 5 KB Feb 14 1997
Fugue no. 7 in A major op87_07b.mid 11 KB Feb 26 1997
Prelude no. 8 in F sharp minor op87_08a.mid 6 KB Mar 02 1997
Fugue no. 8 in F sharp minor op87_08b.mid 12 KB Mar 24 1997
Prelude no. 9 in E major op87_09a.mid 9 KB Apr 01 1997
Fugue no. 9 in E major op87_09b.mid 10 KB Mar 05 1997
Prelude no. 10 in C sharp minor op87_10a.mid 7 KB Apr 13 1997
Fugue no. 10 in C sharp minor op87_10b.mid 15 KB Apr 14 1997
Prelude no. 11 in B major op87_11a.mid 5 KB May 06 1997
Fugue no. 11 in B major op87_11b.mid 14 KB May 06 1997
Prelude no. 12 in G sharp minor op87_12a.mid 18 KB May 06 1997
Fugue no. 12 in G sharp minor op87_12b.mid 20 KB May 07 1997
Prelude no. 13 in F sharp major op87_13a.mid 21 KB Feb 28 1997
Fugue no. 13 in F sharp major op87_13b.mid 11 KB Feb 26 1997
Prelude no. 14 in E flat minor op87_14a.mid 19 KB Mar 05 1997
Fugue no. 14 in E flat minor op87_14b.mid 11 KB Feb 08 1997
Prelude no. 15 in D flat major op87_15a.mid 18 KB Mar 21 1997
Fugue no. 15 in D flat major op87_15b.mid 16 KB Mar 31 1997
Prelude no. 16 in B flat minor op87_16a.mid 11 KB Apr 17 1997
Fugue no. 16 in B flat minor op87_16b.mid 25 KB Apr 16 1997
Prelude no. 17 in A flat major op87_17a.mid 10 KB Mar 05 1997
Fugue no. 17 in A flat major op87_17b.mid 22 KB Jan 02 1999
Prelude no. 18 in F minor op87_18a.mid 9 KB Mar 29 1997
Fugue no. 18 in F minor op87_18b.mid 16 KB Jan 02 1999
Prelude no. 19 in E flat major op87_19a.mid 5 KB Apr 12 1997
Fugue no. 19 in E flat major op87_19b.mid 8 KB Nov 20 1998
Prelude no. 20 in C minor op87_20a.mid 8 KB Apr 20 1997
Fugue no. 20 in C minor op87_20b.mid 13 KB Apr 20 1997
Prelude no. 21 in B flat major op87_21a.mid 11 KB Apr 08 1997
Fugue no. 21 in B flat major op87_21b.mid 16 KB Apr 08 1997
Prelude no. 22 in G minor op87_22a.mid 14KB May 07 1997
Fugue no. 22 in G minor op87_22b.mid 12 KB Feb 11 1997
Prelude no. 23 in F major op87_23a.mid 6 KB Feb 19 1997
Fugue no. 23 in F major op87_23b.mid 18 KB Apr 05 1997
Prelude no. 24 in D minor op87_24a.mid 11 KB Apr 23 1997
Fugue no. 24 in D minor op87_24b.mid 31 KB Apr 23 1997
Complete collection zipped op87.zip 239 KB Jan 02 1999

For a lot of interesting insights about the nature and personality of these pieces, you should consult the article Shostakovich: Humour in the piano music, by Rob Ainsley.

Some of the opus 87 piano pieces were also sequenced by Serge Winitzki and can be heard on his GeoCities page, together with some impressive renderings of Reger and Dupré organ music. Alexandre Hohmann, too, has sequenced some of the preludes from the opus 87: see his Shostakovich page.

Top of Page    Presentation  Preludes and Fugues opus 87    Some Arrangements     Many Thanks!

Some Arrangements

This section isn't for the purist, so skip it if you can't stand the idea of hearing these pieces in other guises than the black and white piano originals. These arrangements came up as a by-product of the sequencing of the "straight" versions, but I am too much in love with them to just let them lie forgotten on my hard disk. Anyway, get these at your own risk and keep in mind that Shostakovich isn't the least bit responsible for them...

Fugue04.mid (19 KB)
The E minor Fugue is a double fugue in the traditional cut; the first subject is presented in the first (slow) section, the (faster) second section takes care of the second subject and both subjects are combined in the concluding part. It is natural to attribute each subject and associated thematic material to a different instrumental group, and this is how strings and brass help to aurally clarify the dazzling contrapuntal texture of such passages in which the two subjects are combined with each other and with themselves in a very close stretto.

Fugue06.mid (28 KB)
Am I the only one to hear in the B minor Fugue echoes from the elaborate polyphonic canzoni of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli? I set it for brass ensemble and all the parts are doubled with a delay of some tenths of second, to reproduce the ambience of a cathedral in Venice.

Fugue11.mid (13 KB)
This is a transcription of the B major Fugue for woodwind trio: flute, English horn and bassoon. This lively and extrovert piece is very well suited, I believe, to the woodwind trio idiom. Now I wonder if human players could actually play this five-sharp piece as fast as it is heard here...

Fugue12.mid (41 KB)
The G sharp minor Fugue is a rhythmically very complex piece in 5/4 meter, and from the beginning I wondered how it would sound played by a jazz ensemble. I added to it a drum track (which I ripped off from a Take Five midi) and the final result got some favorable comments from people in alt.fan.shostakovich and elsewhere. For all its jazzy character, this "Take Five Fugue" is an exact transcription of the piano piece, except for the addition of drums and the fact that the bass plays one octave lower than in the original.

Fugue13.mid (12 KB)
The only five-voice fugue in the collection appears as the natural candidate for a woodwind quintet transcription. A restrained and meditative Adagio, it displays some luminous entries of the subject, which the different instrumental timbres put on a whole new light. The medium proved so adequate to the music that I didn't hesitate to transpose it one diminished fourth upwards to B flat so that it would better fit the registers and capabilities of the instruments. [Thanks to Francis Markey for suggesting this key instead of my former choice of A Major.]

Fugue14.mid ( 13 KB)
I chose the string orchestra for this arrangement of the E flat minor Fugue, but added a trio of woodwind instruments that pick up the subject and counter-subject at some structurally significant passages. In this I was influenced by Hermann Scherchen's impressive instrumentation of Contrapunctus IX from J.S. Bach's Art of the Fugue.

Prel16.mid ( 15 KB)
When I sequenced the original Prelude I was attracted by the clever way the different layers of the musical texture were compressed on the two piano staves. I separated the layers to get a better grasp of the structure, and this instrumental arrangement came as a natural consequence. A short and pungent theme, with a very Shostakovitchian harmonic twist, is followed by three Baroque variations and a conclusion. More than just an analytical study, this arrangement came off as a quite enjoyable piece of music as well.

Prel22.mid (17 KB)
Admittedly I went a bit over the top in the arrangement of the G minor Prelude. But for all the liberties I took in relation to the parsing and distribution of the voices, and the many instrument changes, all the notes are exactly those written by Shostakovich. I tried to reinforce the hypnotic character of the long ostinati, and didn't neglect the use of "electronic" instruments to get the desired effect.

Fugue22.mid (14 KB)
The four voices of the G minor Fugue fit so perfectly the register of the string quartet instruments that I can't help believing that Shostakovich had this ensemble in mind when he devised this piece. Here I chose again the warm and full sound of the string orchestra as the ideal vehicle for this music. The transcription is once more exact, with basses doubling the cellos one octave lower at some key points.

op87arr.zip ( 64 KB) - all arrangements above in zipped form for quick download:

Also, on the subject of arrangements of the opus 87 pieces, there is a CD by the Boston band Excelsior, featuring Preludes 1, 2, 7, 8, 11, 14 15 17, 18 and 23 arranged for accordion, electric violin, electric guitar and drums. This is a must for all interested in newer perspectives on these pieces, and has been saluted as "...brilliant, funny and slightly mad." by the Boston Herald. Order the CD and see more about the Excelsior group at their CD Alley web site.

Top of Page    Presentation  Preludes and Fugues opus 87    Some Arrangements     Many Thanks!

Many Thanks!

Now that the collection is complete it's time to thank everybody who visited my page during these last months, and particularly those who left messages with comments and words of incentive. I wouldn't have embarked on such taxing enterprise were it not for the certainty that a number people out there were interested in what I was proposing to do. To all of you my hearty thanks!

Also, on a more personal basis,

Brian Bachelder (see his much praised "Unofficial" Chopin Page) must come first because he is the one who introduced me to the universe of MIDI sequencing (with the sad result that I've been doing little else thereafter and our long correspondence concerning which are the best Beethoven quartets suffered accordingly...).

Les Winters showed interest in my files from the very beginning; he went after the first updates himself and organized a nice home for them in his Shostakovich page on MIDIWorld. Go visit MIDIWorld- it is one of the best classical MIDIs repositories in existence!

Gary Goldberg (see his page in Classical Music Connection) kindly gave me access to his huge sequences of Shostakovich symphonies, and remapping them to GM taught me many a trick of the trade. Gary was the person to whom I showed my first opus 87 sequence and his warm welcome put me on the track of sequencing the whole stuff. In fact my debt to Gary is still more concrete: he had already sequenced the D minor fugue, and although I had to disassemble it completely in order to fit the voices to four separate channels (and, of course, introduce my own dynamics and tempi choices), I was spared a lot of work that would be otherwise necessary if I had to sequence this mammoth fugue from scratch.

David Siu (see his excellent classical MIDI files page) and Simon Rigot (listen to his sequences of Corelli sonatas) were always helpful with their great MIDI expertise when it came to good suggestions as to how to make my sequences sound better.

My thanks also to Iain Strachan and Steven G. Powell for spotting and correcting some wrong notes in the former version of Fugues 17, 18 and 19.

I want also to thank Eric Schissel (see his MIDI sequences on his page) and the "WebMaster" of alt.fan.shostakovich , Richard A. Muirden, for his support to this enterprise and for publicizing my page on the a.f.s. FAQ. And, in general, my thanks to the whole crew of a.f.s who, in spite (or is it because?) of their deep differences, form the liveliest forum of discussion of a classical composer on Usenet.

Top of Page    Presentation  Preludes and Fugues opus 87    Some Arrangements     Many Thanks!

Thank you for your visit! I will be very happy to read your comments, criticisms and suggestions!

See also my other Music pages for more of my MIDI sequences, original compositions and interesting links.

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