Until the publication of "Testimony", the memoirs he dictated to journalist Solomon Volkov, few doubted that Dmitri Shostakovich was a son of the Russian Revolution, whose music celebrated its triumphs, and who devoted his life to the ideals of socialist humanism and internationalism. This biography of Shostakovich repudiates reservations about the precise nature of Volkov's book, to reveal a "new Shostakovich" - a man who had no sympathy with Communism and was forced to build subtle or coded communication into his music to defy the artistic conventions of the Stalinist state. In addition to presenting this new view of the composer, the book also encourages a reappraisal of his music in the light of its new-found meaning and the manner of its creation.
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Ian MacDonald was born in 1948. A writer of many interests, he was Assistant Editor of the New Musical Express during 1972-5. He also worked as a songwriter and record producer, and is the author of Revolution in the Head (1994;1997; 2005), The People's Music (2003) and The Beatles at No. 1 (2003). He died in 2003.From Publishers Weekly:
This is a really fresh approach to the life and works of the great Russian composer--the first extended one since Solomon Volkov's highly controversial Testimony 10 years ago, which showed Shostakovich (1906-1975), apparently in his own words, to have been an unhappy rebel against Stalinism. MacDonald, an English musicologist and composer, goes even further. Taking the Volkov quotes as his base, and armed with an extensively researched examination of the ups and downs of Soviet cultural life during the 50 years of the composer's maturity, he constructs a version of Shostakovich as a combination of agonized introvert, profound cynic and "holy fool"; and, more importantly, portrays his music as a vast and skillful evocation of a creative artist profoundly at odds with his society. Such extremely subjective interpretations of the symphonies and chamber works are certainly unusual--and MacDonald's scornful comments on some Western critics suggest he has a hefty axe to grind--but there is no doubt that his extended essays on such controversial works as, say, the fourth, eighth and twelfth symphonies and the fifth and eighth quartets, break new ground. This is a book full of revelations for those interested in Shostakovich, or, indeed, in Soviet cultural history. Photos not seen by PW .
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Northeastern University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1555530893 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0637420
Book Description Northeastern University Press, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111555530893