Story of a Friendship

Story of a Friendship

The Letters of Dmitry Shostakovich to Isaak Glikman, 1941–1975
Dmitry Shostakovich, Isaak Glikman
Translated by Anthony Phillips
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.

Anthony Phillips



Translation:
Diaries 1924–1933
Prodigal Son
Sergey Prokofiev
The third and final volume of Prokofiev's Diaries covers the years 1924 to 1933, when he was living in Paris.





Contributions:

Diaries 1915–1923
Behind the Mask
Sergey Prokofiev
"'To go to America!' Here was wretchedness; there life brimming over. . . . Such was the flag under which I greeted the New Year. Surely it will not disappoint my hopes'" With these words Sergey Prokofiev closed his diary for the revolutionary year...



Diaries 1907–1914
Prodigious Youth
Sergey Prokofiev
Sergey Prokofiev, a compulsive diarist and gifted and idiosyncratic writer, possessed an incorrigibly sardonic curiosity about individuals and events. When he left Russia after the 1917 Revolution, his diaries were recovered from the family flat in...









Also of interest

Russia Gets the Blues
Music, Culture, and Community in Unsettled Times
Michael E. Urban

Subjects

Art : Performing Arts / Music
Biography and Autobiography

Connect with us

Newsletters