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A rare interview with the hermit of Russian music

December 30, 2014 by norman lebrecht

13 comments.


The composer Galina Ustvolskaya was possibly the closest to Dmitri Shostakovich: he asked, at one point to marry her.

But Galina had her own voice and retreated progressively into religious contemplation. According to her website, he gave only three interviews in her life, one of them to the Dutch journalist, Thea Derks.

She flares up when asked about Shostakovich. Read here. A compelling snapshot of an essential personality.

 

ustvolstkaya1

Extraordinary documentary below.

h/t: DSCH Journal


Comments (13)

  1. Paul Pellay says:

    Er………….isn’t that Sofia Gubaidulina in the b/w picture?

    1. Josee Voormans says:

      No!! Certainly not. It ís Galina Ustvolskaya

  2. MWnyc says:

    I’ve seen Thea Derks described as both a music journalist and a music publicist. In the States, at least, those jobs are not considered compatible. Can any Dutch folks here explain what the deal is with Derks?

    1. Thea Derks says:

      The first picture indeed shows Gubaidulina. As to your question: I studied musicology and write about music. In Dutch there is no difference btween a music journalist and a music publicist.

      1. norman lebrecht says:

        ouch! will replace.

    2. John Borstlap says:

      She writes about music in any context according to demand and / or initiative. In Holland, music journalism and / or music writing is not organized.

      1. MWnyc says:

        Thanks to both john and Thea herself.

        But do the Dutch not see any conflict of interest between the jobs of music journalist and music publicist? No concern about – to take the most blatant potential instance – a publicist promoting his clients in his journalistic work?

        1. Bill says:

          That’s exactly the problem of music journalism in The Netherlands…

  3. MWnyc says:

    By the way, Thea, I very much enjoyed your (attempted!) interview with Ustvolskaya.

    (And thanks to Norman for bringing it to our attention.)

    I have a question about Galina Ivanovna’s quote about Shostakovich: “he burdened my life and killed my best feelings.” I’ve seen that quote referenced in a number of different places, rendered in English in different ways. Thea, do you by chance happen to have a record of how exactly she worded it in Russian?

    1. Andrei says:

      “Одно остаётся очевидным: такая, казалось бы, выдающаяся фигура, как Шостакович, для меня не являлась выдающейся, — наоборот, тяготила и убивала мои лучшие чувства.” – http://ustvolskaya.org/dsch.php
      There’s also a link to the original paper signed by her.

  4. Russell Platt says:

    Fascinating! Thanks for posting this Norman.

  5. Thea Derks says:

    Dear Mwnyc, glaf you likedmy (attempted) interview. Could you please explain what, in the States, is the difference between a jounalist and a pulicist? I published a biography of Reinbert de Leeuw at Leporello publishers. It concerns what we call a journalistic biography.

  6. andrew says:

    “But Galina had her own voice and retreated progressively into religious contemplation.”
    Ustvolskaya repeated many times that her music is NOT religious but spiritual.

    “According to her website, he gave only three interviews in her life…”
    1) she gave
    2) not three, but more. 2 times for Olga Gladkova, 2 times for Josee Voormans, 1 time for Russian TV, 1 time for Thea Derks – 6 in total. There were also 2 attempts to interview her in 1998 (Wien) and in 1999 (Bern).


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