Shostakovich: A Life Remembered

Overview

Shostakovich: A Life Remembered is a unique study of the great composer Dimitri Shostakovich drawn from the reminiscences and reflections of his contemporaries. Using much material never previously published in English, as well as personal accounts from interviews and specially commissioned articles, Elizabeth Wilson has built a fascinating chronicle of Shostakovich's life.

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1995 Softcover 8vo, paperback. New. Bright, crisp & clean, unread; covers glossy. xxiv, 550 p.

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Overview

Shostakovich: A Life Remembered is a unique study of the great composer Dimitri Shostakovich drawn from the reminiscences and reflections of his contemporaries. Using much material never previously published in English, as well as personal accounts from interviews and specially commissioned articles, Elizabeth Wilson has built a fascinating chronicle of Shostakovich's life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Elizabeth Wilson has done both Shostakovich scholarship and the general reader a great service...making available for the first time a remarkable range of material, much of it specially commissioned for this book in taped interview or written form...Her book makes an important contribution to our knowledge of Shostakovich's life and times."—Eric Roseberry, The Times Literary Supplement

"Elizabeth Wilson's magnificent new oral history, Shostakovich: A Life Remembered, [is] the one indispensable book about the composer."—Richard Taruskin, The New York Times

"The most important book ever published about the greatest Russian composer of the 20th century....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

"By far the most important book ever published about the greatest Russian composer of the 20th century. This 550-page anthology weaves together dozens of memoirs by friends and colleagues of Shostakovich, most never previously available in English and many commissioned for this book. 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. Very strongly recommended."—New York Daily News

"In Shostakovich: A life remembered, Elizabeth Wilson has done bothShostakovich scholarship and the general reader a great service . . . making available for the first time a remarkable range of material, much of it specially commissioned for this book. . . . an important contribution to our knowledge of Shostakovich's life and times."—Times Literary Supplement

"The author, an English cellist who studied with Rostropovich in Moscow, has gathered numerous recollections of Shostakovich and organized them into an enormous biography that follows every step of his life. . . . Together, these diverse sources provide a mosaic portrait of a shy, fidgety, punctilious musician."—New Yorker

"Drawing on contemporary reminiscences, interviews, letters and other material from Shostakovish's friends and disciples, Ms. Wilson has stitched together a kind of collage-cum-commentary that splendidly illuminates the composer's life and times. . . . The result is a gripping portrait of Shostakovich's physical and mental sufferings under the regimes of Josef Stalin, Nikita Khruschev and Leonid Brezhnev."—Samuel Lipman, Washington Times

". . . an enthralling new biography. . . . It is a tale of musical genius, fired and nearly extinguished by oppression. . . . Courage and cowardice, nobility and self-disgust: These extremes in Shostakovich's character which informed so much of his music, have made him seem the quintessential composer not only of his own tragic times, but of our whole appalling century."—Charles Michener, The New York Observer

"Elizabeth Wilson . . . conducted interviews with and solicited short written pieces from many who knew Shostakovich. Wilson has arranged this fascinating material into a "documentary biography" in which many voices and points of view are heard. . . . its value as "documentary" cannot be overestimated."—Wilson Library Bulletin

"Shostakovich emerges from these pages not only as a musical prodigy (he could compose and orchestrate in his head as much as Mozart) but as a human being unfailingly polite and gentlemanly, touching in his weaknesses, commendable in his strengths. This volume goes a long way in providing the missing biography of one of this century's most vital creative spirits."—Opera News
"[Wilson's] book makes possible a better grasp of the composer's life and . . . [gives] insight into the tribulations of a great artist subjected to the pressures of a totalitarian regime. The author and her contributors reveal what these pressures cost Shostakovich, the effect they had on his life and work, and the nature and the extent of his efforts on behalf of others subjected to the same pressures."—Choice

"[Elizabeth] Wilson interviewed and commissioned writings from nearly a hundred of Shostakovich's family members, former students, friends, collaborators, and acquaintnces. . . . The result is a richly varied insight into one of the century's most frequently misjudged geniuses. . . . [In] Shostakovich: A Life Remembered we finally have a more balanced, insightful and quite literally diverse view of his life and work. . . . one will gain immeasurably from reading this book."—David Weininger, Boston Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691044651
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/1995
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 574
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Wilson, a cellist and Russianist, studied at the Moscow State Conservatory with Mstislav Rostropovich between 1964 and 1971. She is a teacher, writer, and performer.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Preface xi
Acknowledgements xix
Acronyms xxiii
1 Childhood and Youth 1
2 The Young Composer Established 41
3 Criticism and the Response to Criticism 108
4 The War Years - A Respite 148
5 The Final Years of Stalinism 199
6 The Thaw 259
7 Regeneration 349
8 The Last Years 411
Appendix: The First Cello Concerto 477
Biographical Notes 480
Annotated List of Sources 507
Index 519

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