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dimitri shostakovich

12th March 2004 permanent link

Brian Micklethwait talks about the life and music of Dimitri Shostakovich on samizdata, revisiting some of the themes we talked about a while back in connection with Wilhelm Furtwängler and music under the Nazis.

Which reminded me of something very interesting I read a while ago - some quotations from the autobiography of Rostislav Dubinsky, the original leader of the legendary Borodin Quartet. Some fascinating stories about playing things with and for Shostakovich, and the poisonous atmosphere of suspicion and fear they were all used to surviving in. Unfortunately the book, Stormy Applause, seems to be out of print and expensive to buy second hand. Fortunately (for me though not for people who want to make or sell classical music recordings) the glutted state of the market for recorded classical music means I could buy the Borodin Quartet's stupendous original recordings of Shostakovich's quartets last year for 30 euros for the 4-CD set. I can remember less than ten years ago when they were 16 pounds (about 24 euros) each in England.

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