Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9781789141276 Published September 2019 For sale in North and South America only

Dmitry Shostakovich

Pauline Fairclough

Dmitry Shostakovich

Pauline Fairclough

Distributed for Reaktion Books

192 pages | 25 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4
Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9781789141276 Published September 2019 For sale in North and South America only
Dmitry Shostakovich was one of the most successful composers of the twentieth century—a musician who adapted as no other to the unique pressures of his age. By turns vilified and feted by Stalin during the Great Purge, Shostakovich twice came close to succumbing to the whirlwind of political repression of his times and remained under political surveillance all his life, despite the many privileges and awards heaped upon him in old age. Through it all, Shostakovich showed a remarkable ability to work with, rather than against, prevailing ideological demands, and it was this quality that ensured both his survival and his musical posterity.

Pauline Fairclough’s absorbing new biography offers a vivid portrait of Shostakovich. Featuring quotations from previously unpublished letters as well as rarely seen photographs, Fairclough’s book provides fresh insight into the music and life of a composer whose legacy, above all, was to have written some of the greatest and most cherished music of the last century.
Review Quotes
Erik Levi | BBC Music Magazine
“Few composers have been subjected to such longstanding distortions regarding their music and political outlook as Shostakovich. Fairclough acknowledges these minefields, and in this vivid and lucidly expounded study manages to steer a pragmatic course through the many controversial issues that blighted his career. Her fair-minded approach and scrupulous attention to detail, supported by references to newly discovered or previously unpublished archival material, combines cutting edge scholarship with tremendous insight into Shostakovich's complex personality. The picture that emerges is far more rounded and I dare say more human than has been the case with previous biographies of the composer. In this respect, Fairclough is particularly sensitive in dealing with Shostakovich's often problematic relationships with women. There’s a real artfulness, too, in the way that she manages to weave Shostakovich's life and works into a gripping entity. In particular, Fairclough makes a convincing case for re-evaluating some of the much criticized music he composed to fulfill political obligations made by the soviet state.”
Catholic Herald
“This book invites you to see more. . . . [The author] wants you to stand back and take a broader view of a creative artist who made use of the system that otherwise oppressed him, playing it at its own game. And she makes the point that Western readings of Shostakovich have been suspiciously changeable over time, for reasons that relate to politics as much as music.”
Gerard McBurney, composer
“Fairclough’s attractively readable and fairminded new biography sails elegantly past old arguments while taking fascinating account of the mass of new research that has appeared in recent years.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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