"The rest of us can nevertheless be grateful for [Fay's] humble and herculean efforts, thanks to which Shostakovich can no longer be discussed in terms of black or white; her work has begun to make it possible to focus on the lasting inner life of the music and to think of the music's creator in fuller human terms."―The Boston Sunday Globe
"The combined effects of scholarly incompetence, deliberate obfuscation, and the imposition of political agendas have made it nearly impossible to get a clear picture of the life of Shostokovich, one of the most fascinating figures in the cultural life of the twentieth century. Laurel Fay, the most patient of scholars, has done an amazing job of getting the material sorted out so as to be able to tell the compelling story of this troubled life. She is calm, bound by no political parti pris, and when even she has been defeated in her research she is not afraid to say 'I don't know'. Long awaited, this is an immensely important book and hugely welcome."―Michael Steinberg, author of The Symphony: A Listener's Guide
and The Concerto: A Listener's Guide
"Fay's Shostokovich is not only the best biography in English or in any other West European language, it offers readers a factual accuracy and balanced perspective unmatched in post-Soviet era publications by Shostakovich specialists in the composer's homeland. Undaunted by the lurid debates surrounding Shostakovich's purported lifelong dissidence and the covert meaning of his music, Fay has produced exactly what we need at this stage in Shostokovich scholarship; a reliable and basic life and works―clear-eyed, straightforward, copiously researched, sympathetic, objective, and uncluttered by Cold-War and post-Cold-War myths."―Malcolm Hamrick Brown, Professor Emeritus of Music, Indiana University, and Founding Editor, Russian Music Studies
About the Author
Laurel E. Fay
is a widely published writer on Russian and Soviet music, who has been travelling to and studying in Russia since 1971. She lives in Staten Island, New York.