An heir to Shostakovich?

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

As the last releases of the year drop through the door, this is an instant ear-grabber. The debate has raged for three decades as to whether Dmitri Shostakovich was a limp Soviet puppet or a secret resistant. One view was advanced by US musicologists, who would not be satisfied until they had a signed document saying ‘I hate Stalin’, the other by Russian friends and fans of the composer who heard his dissidence expressed in the music.

Thankfully, the dispute is being resolved by a new generation of musicians who come fresh to the music….

Read on here.

And here.

photo: Vera Weber

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  • You can pointlessly polarise a decades old debate if you want, but no credible academic ever characterised Shostakovich as a “limp Soviet puppet” and your take on the music in that review suggests you a lack of acquaintance with the work of any of the scholars you so enjoy taking a swipe at. Readers of Elizabeth Wilson’s Shostakovich: A Life Remembered and DDS’s own letters to Isaak Glikman would realise that the composer’s relationship with dissidence and the state was a complex one, but that his hatred of war and inhumanity is not in doubt and is widely accepted by everyone who writes anything worthwhile about him.

  • – Shostakovich: “Sin el Partido Comunista, mi música hubiera sido diferente”.

    (Schostakowitsch. Sein Lebeb, sein Werk, seibe Zeit) Krzysztof Meyer, Gustav Lübbe Verlag.

  • My take on Shostakovich is that he was a firm believer in the socialist ideals represented by The Russian Revolution, and that he was an opponent of Stalinist authoritarianism. In short: he was neither a stooge of blind tyranny, nor of Western imperialism.

    As is the case with many great artists, his music likely operates as a bit of a Rorschach test, with individuals interpreting his works in a manner that conforms to their own preconceived ideologies.

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