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Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary Relationship Between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator
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Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary Relationship Between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  69 ratings  ·  5 reviews
“Music illuminates a person and provides him with his last hope; even Stalin, a butcher, knew that.” So said the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, whose first compositions in the 1920s identified him as an avant-garde wunderkind. But that same singularity became a liability a decade later under the totalitarian rule of Stalin, with his unpredictable grounds for the per ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2005)
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Daniel McLaughlin
This is an amazing historical account of the tyranny that artists in the Soviet Union had to endure under Stalin. It wasn't just a matter of his pure despotism. He was a supreme manipulator and knew now to control someone and use them for his means despite their true desires. If you want to read about the psychology of a despot within the artistic community of a communist country this is the book for you. It's also a great account of Shostakovich's struggle as an artist under such unrelenting ci ...more
Linda
the repeated talk of the pushkin/tsar connection was overdone. it reminded me of me when i've written an essay, realize my thesis is actually not that relevant to my essay and to conceal this, insert my thesis everywhere. ...a horribly ineffective strategy btw.

i also think it could have spent more time on the music.
Riley
I enjoyed this book about the artist's struggle to maintain honesty and creativity in a totalitarian society. I wouldn't recognize a single work of Dmitri Shostakovitch's, but I found this book an insightful look into how he and other intellectuals tried (and often failed) to survive the horrors of Stalin.
☯Bettie☯
Mar 06, 2014 ☯Bettie☯ marked it as to-read
g drive
Angelique
Liked - will review more later! Much better than Testimony.
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Solomon Moiseyevich Volkov (born 17 April 1944 in Uroteppa, Tadzhik SSR) is a Russian journalist and musicologist. He is best known for Testimony, which was published in 1979 following his emigration from the Soviet Union in 1976. He claimed that the book was the memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich, as related to himself.
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