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.