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Dmitry Shostakovich
Suggested Reading



Shostakovich : A Life
(Laurel E. Fay )
For this authoritative post-cold-war biography of Shostakovich's illustrious but turbulent career under Soviet rule, Laurel E. Fay has gone back to primary documents: Shostakovich's many letters, concert programs and reviews, newspaper articles, and diaries of his contemporaries.

Shostakovich: A Life Remembered
(Elizabeth Wilson)
This book offers a unique perspective on one of our century's most complex, enigmatic, and controversial geniuses, set in the musical and political context of his time. It is a compendium of official documents, private letters, diaries, and interviews with Shostakovich's family, friends, and enemies (in Russia and elsewhere), as well as articles written especially for the book. The result is a fascinating first-hand portrait of Shostakovich the man as husband, widower, father, and friend, and Shostakovich the composer, who--by turns officially reviled and extolled--became a symbol for the suffering of his people. Indomitably creative despite constant fear, repression, bereavement, and debilitating illnesses, his ultimate tragedy was that the political "thaw" came too late for his failing health. Many of Wilson's respondents are musicians who knew that Shostakovich encoded his music with hidden subtexts to express his secret thoughts. On the other hand, his political statements, written and spoken under duress, were often ambiguous and contradictory, and Wilson quotes both conciliatory and hostile reactions to them.

Shostakovich: String Quartets
(Eugene Drucker, Lawrence Dutton, et al.; Emerson String Quartet )
Box Set (5 discs) Every month, there seem to be another new half-dozen Shostakovich recordings, but this set of his 15 gripping string quartets is worth checking out. The Emerson String Quartet deliver beautiful, yet slightly restrained, performances of these ominous works.

Testimony : The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich
(Dmitrii Dmitrievich Shostakovich, edited by Solomon Volkov)
A serious indictment of some 55 years of Soviet musical life as witnessed by a major Russian artist

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