Death of a terrorised resistant

Death of a terrorised resistant


norman lebrecht

December 11, 2010

The composer Boris Tishchenko died in St Petersburg on December 9, aged 71. Close to Dmitri Shostakovich, he wrote a high-risk Requiem set to Anna Akhmatova’s lament for her husband, murdered by the Communist state. His fifth symphony is a maginificent eulogy for DSCH.

Although he was forced to issue a public denunciation of the Shostakovich memoirs that Solomon Volkov published under the title Testimony, Tischchenko played a vital role in their transmission. It was he who persuaded Shostakovich to persist with his secret conversations with Volkov and he also played a role in smuggling the manuscript out to the West, where it became a massive best-seller, exposing the homicidal inner workings of Soviet culture.
Tishchenko’s own works, hardly heard outside Russia, include two rich cello concertos for Mstislav Rostropovich and an austere second violin concerto of 1982 that may be his finest masterpiece. In all, he wrote more than 130 works.


  • One of the best. I’m dismayed.
    His five symphonies on the Divine Comedy are unique, as is so much else he wrote.

  • Marie Lamb says:

    Thanks for mentioning this. I’m sorry to read of his passing, too. Right now, a check of the library at our radio station for Tischchenko only shows some excerpts from “Yaroslavna” in a Radio Netherlands set of live recordings with Valery Gergiev. After giving them a listen…well, I intend to do something about this deficiency. To put it in Down Beat magazine terms, he’s a TDWR (talent deserving wider recognition).