A rare interview with the hermit of Russian music

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.



Extraordinary documentary below.

h/t: DSCH Journal

share this

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
  • 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?

    • 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.

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

      • 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?

  • 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?

    • “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.

  • 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.

  • “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).

  • >