book Laurel Fay Shostakovich: A Life

ISBN 13 : 9780195134384

Shostakovich: A Life

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9780195134384: 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 Symphony, 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 regimes 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 more 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 Shostakovich.

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About the Author :


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 York.

From Publishers Weekly :

Fay, an academic specializing in Russian music, notes in her introduction to this careful and detailed study of the Soviet composer's life and work that "there is not a single even remotely reliable resource in Russian, English, or any other language for the basic facts" about him. She has therefore set herself dutifully to sort fact from tendentious politicizing as best she canAwhether from the "right" (a dutiful Soviet official biography) or the "left" (Solomon Volkov's highly suspect Testament, which suggested the composer was a closet rebel against state conformism all his life). Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975) was certainly the pre-eminent composer who lived his entire creative life under the Soviet regime (Prokofiev escaped to Paris for an extended period). As such, he became, perforce, a cultural icon, despite his occasional fallings from grace with the Kremlin. One of the virtues of Fay's book is her picture of the endless mundane tasks to which Shostakovich was subjected: rote speeches, statements, interviews, appearances at conferences. In many ways his life was that of a senior civil servant, a role he performed with extraordinary conscientiousness. As a personality, however, he remains profoundly elusive. Fay reports that Shostakovich was frequently witty and sardonic, but gives few glimpses of this side of him. More importantly, it is never explained whether his apparent equivocations about deplorable aspects of Soviet artistic policy sprang from cowardice or cynicism. What is certain was that this enormously prolific, hard-working artist left behind a legacy of powerful, often agonizingly somber, work that is even more striking considering the circumstancesAoften feeble health, worries about money and personal securityAunder which he wrote. Fay has done a notable job of clearing the brush; a more substantial and penetrating portrait remains to be constructed on that cleared site. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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Description du livre Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1999. Hardback. État : New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.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 Symphony, 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 regimes 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 more 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 Shostakovich. N° de réf. du libraire APC9780195134384

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Description du livre Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1999. Hardback. État : New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 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 Symphony, 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 regimes 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 more 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 Shostakovich. N° de réf. du libraire APC9780195134384

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