Shostakovich: A Life Remembered

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Elizabeth Wilson's biography of Shostakovich is a brilliant and convincing portrait of the Soviet-era composer. Based on letters, diaries, and interviews with and of his contemporaries, Wilson weaves Elizabeth Wilson covers the composer's life from his early successes to his struggles She has combined careers as performer and teacher, playing with distinguished ensembles in Britain and Europe as well as devising and presenting radio and concert series on a range of Russian themes.

In particular, Shostakovich's sardonic and witty sense of humor reveals itself in many of his letters to close friends.

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Shostakovich offers fascinating insight into the complex personality and musical life of this great composer, and examines his position as one of the major figures in the cultural life of twentieth-century Russia. Praise for the previous edition: A Life Remembered , [is] the one indispensable book about the composer.

Together, these diverse sources provide a mosaic portrait of a shy, fidgety, punctilious musician.

For the first time, Shostakovich's anguished personality comes into focus, and his emotionally devastating encounters with the Soviet government are put into trustworthy perspective. The New York Daily News.

Elizabeth Wilson , a cellist and Russianist, studied at the Moscow State Conservatory with Mstislav Rostropovich between and She is a teacher, writer, and performer. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Learn more about Amazon Prime. Read more Read less.

Testimony: From the Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich

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Shostakovich: A Life Remembered is a unique study of the great composer Dmitri Shostakovich, based on reminiscences from his contemporaries. Elizabeth. BOOK REVIEW / For the common good: Shostakovich: A Life Remembered: by Elizabeth Wilson, Faber pounds

Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich. Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. Unlocking the Masters Series. Review Praise for the previous edition: Princeton University Press; 2 edition September 3, Language: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Share your thoughts with other customers.

Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention shostakovich living life elizabeth wilson mstislav rostropovich life remembered communist party biographical notes studied cello siege of leningrad seventh symphony dmitri shostakovich recommend this book anyone interested composer life russian music life of shostakovich shostakovich intended the music lived war personal soviet. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. And he did so during a time of enormous social, economic and political changes.

Born in to poor parents, he fought a life-long battle with ill health, and struggled to support an extended family. His work was often censured by the Soviet musical establishment, and he fought against state censorship to have his work performed. Sometimes, out of caution, the censorship was self-imposed; his 4th Symphony, written in , was not performed until The result is a biography that allows other people to talk extensively about Shostakovich, while Wilson, who selected all the material, provides the narrative thread that puts the remembrances in context.

I found this a little disorienting at first, but quickly got used to it. In any case, the multitude of voices provides a richness and texture lacking in traditional biographies. Occasionally Shostakovich himself is quoted, but mostly we see him through the eyes of others. Shostakovich certainly was, and so were his friends. Wilson's approach is meticulous, judicious and comprehensive - with the result that the whole is extremely readable, as narrative and annotated reference.

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She manages to convey the enigma of Shostakovich as 'fragile' in terms of health and sensitivity and perceptive and almost precociously able in the extreme. My only query - anyone else, please - is about one aspect of the type: TIA to anyone who can comment or explain. One person found this helpful. In a carefully researched and organized work, cellist and author Elizabeth Wilson presents a biography of Shostakovich comprising collated reminiscences and value judgments of his contemporaries that form the bulk of pages of main text, along with her own input and documentary evidence where available.

The prevailing political and cultural environment of the Soviet Union at the time looms large in the background. So many names familiar and unfamiliar appear throughout the text, that 30 pages of Biographical Notes come in handy for identification and as reminders of who's who in the world of Shostakovich. The detailed Index will prove useful to the serious reader of such a large, wide-ranging book.

The Acknowledgements and the Annotated List of Sources give an idea of the vast amount of study, consultation and interviews carried out by Wilson mostly in Russia, but also Switzerland, Germany, UK and USA, in what must be termed a labor of love. His parents wanted to name him Jaroslav, but the priest who baptized him insisted on Dmitri.

Shostakovich: A Life Remembered

So begins the story of the boy prodigy, who matured into one of the most significant composers of the twentieth century. Testimonies by more than 60 contributors authenticate some of Shostakovich's personal attributes, details of his life, and the way he went about composing music under often taxing circumstances and the shadow of a political system that sought to regulate the arts -- indeed all aspects of life -- to conform to "socialist reality.

Perfect pitch and a phenomenal memory helped to distinguish him among his fellow students at the Petrograd Leningrad Conservatoire. His graduation piece, the First Symphony, brought him quick fame. Already he was demonstrating an independent bent of mind and going his own way in music, to the displeasure of the Soviet authorities who eventually subjected him to harassment and humiliation. Shostakovich's sharp contradictions of character affected his behavior.

He had a sense of humor and high spirits; he loved his vodka, card games -- a "poker fiend" according to one friend -- and football soccer ; yet pianist Mikhail Druskin says, "It was Shostakovich's vocation to realize the concept of tragedy, for that was how he perceived the world. Worse yet, occasionally he appeared to be supporting official policies.

Shostakovich: A Life Remembered by Elizabeth Wilson

In the words of soprano Galina Vishnevskaya wife of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich , "He [Shostakovich] felt we were all participants in the farce. He made statements in the press and at meetings; he signed 'letters of protest' that, as he himself said, he never read. He didn't worry about what people would say of him, because he knew the time would come when the verbiage would fade away, when only his music would remain. And his music would speak more vividly than any words.