Story of a Friendship: The Letters of Dmitry Shostakovich to Isaak Glikman, 1941-1975
Cornell University Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 340 pages
After considerable hesitation and soul-searching I have decided to publish the letters Dmitry Dmitriyevich Shostakovich wrote to me. This choice by the composer's close friend Isaak Glikman brought the tormented feelings of the musical genius into public view. Now those feelings resound in the first substantial collection of Shostakovich's letters to appear in English.From the early 1930s until his death in 1975 Shostakovich wrote regularly to Glikman, a Leningrad theater critic and historian. The 288 letters included in this volume began in 1941, at the time of Operation Barbarossa and the composition of the controversial (Leningrad) Symphony no. 7, and continue until 1974, by which time Shostakovich was too frail to write. Glikman's extensive introduction explains that the earlier letters were lost--presumably left behind when both men were evacuated from besieged Leningrad. In his account of those years, Glikman relates personal details of the composer's life during the height of the Stalinist Terror, including Shostakovich's response to the public humiliation inflicted by the regime after the premiere of his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.Taken together, the letters and Glikman's fascinating commentary form a portrait of a complex and acutely sensitive personality endowed with enormous moral integrity, humanity, compassion, and a sharp, often self-deprecating, sense of humor. The book recounts some of the most pivotal episodes of Shostakovich's life, including the long withdrawal of the Symphony no. 4, the regime's 1948 attacks on the composer, his subsequent trips to the United States and other Western countries, his frame of mind upon joining the Communist party in 1960, his reactions to the music of his contemporaries, and his composition of the devastating late symphonies and final string quartets.The battles over the politics of Dmitry Shostakovich and his music continue with undiminished vehemence, and Story of a Friendship is sure to occasion still more argument. At the same time, the book provides a unique opportunity better to understand the man and his music, on the one hand, and the regime that alternately hailed and reviled him, on the other.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
Aleksandr artistic asked August ballet best wishes Bolshevo Bolshoy Bolshoy Theatre Boris composer composer's concert conductor dacha David Oistrakh Dear Isaak Davi'dovich December Dilizhan Dmitry Dmitriyevich Dmitry Shostakovich February feeling Fifteenth Symphony film Fourteenth Symphony Galina Gavriil Give my greetings Give my warmest hand warmly hear heard hope hospital Irina Antonovna Ivan Sollertinsky January July Katerina Izmailova kiss you warmly Komarovo Kurgan Kuybi'shev Lady Macbeth Leningrad Conservatoire Leningrad Philharmonia letter Maksim Maly Opera March Mikhail Moscow Dear Isaak movement Mravinsky Mstislav Rostropovich musicians Nikolai Nina October orchestra performance Philharmonia piano play poem poet premiere press your hand Quartet rehearsal Repino Rostropovich score September Sestroretsk Seventh Symphony Shostakovich songs Soviet Stalin stay Sviridov Tashkent telephone Thank Theatre Thirteenth Symphony told Translator's Note Vasiliyevna warmest greetings words write written wrote Yevgeny Yevgeny Mravinsky Yevtushenko Yury Zhukovka Dear Isaak