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Shostakovich A Life

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 An indefatigable worker he wrote his arresting music despite deprivations during the Nazi invasion and constant surveillance under Stalin's regime Shostakovich's life is a fascinating example of the paradoxes of living as an artist under totalitarian rule In August 1942 his Seventh Symp Disclaimer I skim read most of the later chapters as I was mostly looking into the reception of Shostakovich s War symphonies especially his Seventh the Leningrad and how the composer fell in and out of Party favour particularly during the Stalinist years Also the biography itself is not actually too long ending on p287 with the rest of the book taken up with notes the bibliography and a list of Shostakovich s workA straightforward and above all cautious bibliographical account of the famous Soviet composer s life a narrative of his life rather than an analysis into his music Fay is careful not to make any grand claims about Shostakovich s motivations or political leanings As she states in her introduction Writing about Shostakovich remains laced with political and mora

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Hony written as a protest against fascism was performed in Nazi besieged Leningrad by the city's surviving musicians and was triumphantly broadcast to the German troops who had been bombarded beforehand to silence them Alone among his artistic peers he survived successive Stalinist cultural purges and won the Stalin Prize five times yet in 1948 he was dismissed from his conservatory teaching positions and many of his works were banned from performance He prudently censored himself in one case putting aside a work based on Jewish folk poems Under later reg Workmanlike to a fault but a reliable guide to a mythologized life is a reliable start to exploration

Laurel E. Fay Ï 6 READ

Imes he balanced a career as a model Soviet holding government positions and acting as an international ambassador with his unflagging artistic ambitions In the years since his death in 1975 many have embraced a view of Shostakovich as a lifelong dissident who encoded anti Communist messages in his music This lucid and fascinating biography demonstrates that the reality was much complex Laurel Fay's book includes a detailed list of works a glossary of names and an extensive bibliography making it an indispensable resource for future studies of Shostakovic TruthI chose to read this as a foil to Julian Barnes Noise of Time and it filled that function very well It is foremost a musical biography and the precise dating of works completion and premiere s is forward in Ms Fay s mind as is establishing the circumstances and character of their reception even or especially where there are disparate accounts For all you appreciate her thoroughness it can get a bit dry when lesser known or favoured pieces are being discussed On occasion the notes make up for textual rigour but all too few are the excursions into consideration of the composer s motivation or even political leanings These latter are highlights of the main text A reading of this biography will give the impression that Sh Led a charmed life up to Lady Macbeth whereafte

  • Paperback
  • 488
  • Shostakovich A Life
  • Laurel E. Fay
  • English
  • 01 November 2018
  • 9780195182514

About the Author: Laurel E. Fay

Laurel E Fay is a widely published writer on Russian and Soviet music who has been traveling to and studying in Russia since 1971 She lives in Staten Island New YorkShe received her PhD in musicology from Cornell University A specialist in Russian and Soviet music she has taught at the Ohio State University Wellesley College and New York University and for the past eighteen years she has



10 thoughts on “Shostakovich A Life

  1. says:

    Disclaimer I skim read most of the later chapters as I was mostly looking into the reception of Shostakovich's War symphonies especially his Seventh the Leningrad and how the composer fell in and out of Party favour particularly during the Stalinist years Also the biography itself is not actually too long ending on p287 with the rest of the book taken up with notes the bibliography and a list of Shostakovich

  2. says:

    anyone else here listen too shostakovich

  3. says:

    I’ve been wanting to read a biography of Shostakovich since reading Vollman’s ‘Europe Central’ I’m very glad to finally have gotten around to itWhat I find so fascinating about Shostakovich’s life is the opaue

  4. says:

    Fay attempts a strictly biological account of Shostakovich's life adding only a sprinkle of anecdote and a dash of testimony Her work is cautious at all points but I think this makes it an important contribution to the plethora of literature surrounding Shostakovich literature which tends to take one side or another in the ongoing debates Ultimately Fay's sentiments seem to seep through though especially at the end when she attr

  5. says:

    'It was in response to these critics that Shostakovich blithely uipped in a letter on 24 February in what would prove to be prescience as ironic as it was naive Basically this is all boring All the same I hope that if RAPM didn't grind me into powder that the SSK Union of Soviet Composers will not succeed in doing so eit

  6. says:

    Workmanlike to a fault but a reliable guide to a mythologized life is a reliable start to exploration

  7. says:

    The intersection of music and politics is never far from the surface as the life of Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich informs us If anything the saga of John Adam's opera The Death of Klinghoffer foretell that political ripples if not outright censorship triggered by provocative operas is not uniue to Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District The life of DDS has been the subject of a cottage industry of revisioni

  8. says:

    TruthI chose to read this as a foil to Julian Barnes Noise of Time and it filled that function very well It is foremost a musical biography and the precise dating of works completion and premiere s is forward in

  9. says:

    This is the standard current biography of Dmitry Shostakovich and it's a good read too It's straightforward and concentrates mostly on biography instead of musical analysis I found Shostakovich and his life very interesting if rather saddening He didn't have a very happy life I think he never was able to escape from the long shado

  10. says:

    Not the most riveting storytelling but excellently researched and supported which is a bit of a luxury when dealing with a composer whose life is surrounded by as much myth and hearsay as good solid research I read it for a class and while it wasn't always the thing I was most excited to read it was never a bored to tears experien

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