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Customer Review

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Workmanlike musicologist's review of Shostakovich's life, 25 Sept. 2000
This review is from: Shostakovich: A Life (Hardcover)
This biography definitely adds to what we know about Shostakovich, but is somewhat academic.
Historical accuracy is the goal at every point, and there is much clearing up of obvious falsehoods from other quarters. Not too much light shed on anything one couldn't already glean from other sources, except for precise dating, and cross-referencing of sources, which is of interest only to musicologists, and not the general public.
A good book and a must-read for any Shostakovich aficionado, but not as good a read as Elizabeth Wilson.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Sep 2010 11:41:01 BDT
donaloc says:
There are so many lies told about Shostakovich by those who seek to revise history that it is essential to be rigorous in terms of seeking the truth. What do you expect a pulp-fiction story like Volkov presented?

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2011 01:17:35 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Nov 2011 01:19:07 GMT
The Outsider says:
If anyone is lying it's Laurel Fay. After the cold war ended, and those still in Russia who knew Shostakovich personally felt safe enough to speak, there have been many who have gone down in print validating Volkov's book.

Elizabeth Wilson's 'Shostakovich remembered' is as close to the truth about Shostakovich as one can get, as it contains nothing but the reminiscences of those who lived and worked with him. Fay makes no mention of their testimonies yet quotes articles from Pravda and other "official" propaganda documents as the truth. Fay comes nowhere near the truth in her book.

You talk of revising history; you do realise that, during Stalin's reign, history was obliterated. That was part of the plan. The only way to get to the truth about the Russia in which Shostakovich lived and worked is to listen to those who lived through those dreadful times. This is something that Laurel Fay refuses to do, which is rather sinister in itself.

But, it's up to you; you can believe Fay quoting Pravda propaganda, or you can believe the testimonies of those musicians; conductors etc who knew Shostakovich first-hand, many of whom also lived through The Great Terror.
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Location: Kingston, Surrey, UK

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