Cover image for Shostakovich : a life
Shostakovich : a life
Fay, Laurel E.
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Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xii, 458 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1540 Lexile.
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ML410.S53 F39 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML410.S53 F39 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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For this authoritative post-cold-war biography of Shostakovich's illustrious but turbulent career under Soviet rule, Laurel E. Fay has gone back to primary documents: Shostakovich's many letters, concert programs and reviews, newspaper articles, and diaries of his contemporaries. An indefatigableworker, he wrote his arresting music despite deprivations during the Nazi invasion and constant surveillance under Stalin's regime. Shostakovich's life is a fascinating example of the paradoxes of living as an artist under totalitarian rule. In August 1942, his Seventh Symphony, written as a protest against fascism, was performed in Nazi-besieged Leningrad by the city's surviving musicians, and was triumphantly broadcast to theGerman troops, who had been bombarded beforehand to silence them. Alone among his artistic peers, he survived successive Stalinist cultural purges and won the Stalin Prize five times, yet in 1948 he was dismissed from his conservatory teaching positions, and many of his works were banned fromperformance. He prudently censored himself, in one case putting aside a work based on Jewish folk poems. Under later regimes he balanced a career as a model Soviet, holding government positions and acting as an international ambassador with his unflagging artistic ambitions. In the years since his death in 1975, many have embraced a view of Shostakovich as a lifelong dissident who encoded anti-Communist messages in his music. This lucid and fascinating biography demonstrates that the reality was much more complex. Laurel Fay's book includes a detailed list of works, aglossary of names, and an extensive bibliography, making it an indispensable resource for future studies of Shostakovich.

Author Notes

Laurel E. Fay, a widely published writer on Russian and Soviet music, has been traveling to and studying in Russia since 1971. An independant scholar, she received a Ph.D. from Cornell University. She lives in Staten Island, New York.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fay, an academic specializing in Russian music, notes in her introduction to this careful and detailed study of the Soviet composer's life and work that "there is not a single even remotely reliable resource in Russian, English, or any other language for the basic facts" about him. She has therefore set herself dutifully to sort fact from tendentious politicizing as best she canÄwhether from the "right" (a dutiful Soviet official biography) or the "left" (Solomon Volkov's highly suspect Testament, which suggested the composer was a closet rebel against state conformism all his life). Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975) was certainly the pre-eminent composer who lived his entire creative life under the Soviet regime (Prokofiev escaped to Paris for an extended period). As such, he became, perforce, a cultural icon, despite his occasional fallings from grace with the Kremlin. One of the virtues of Fay's book is her picture of the endless mundane tasks to which Shostakovich was subjected: rote speeches, statements, interviews, appearances at conferences. In many ways his life was that of a senior civil servant, a role he performed with extraordinary conscientiousness. As a personality, however, he remains profoundly elusive. Fay reports that Shostakovich was frequently witty and sardonic, but gives few glimpses of this side of him. More importantly, it is never explained whether his apparent equivocations about deplorable aspects of Soviet artistic policy sprang from cowardice or cynicism. What is certain was that this enormously prolific, hard-working artist left behind a legacy of powerful, often agonizingly somber, work that is even more striking considering the circumstancesÄoften feeble health, worries about money and personal securityÄunder which he wrote. Fay has done a notable job of clearing the brush; a more substantial and penetrating portrait remains to be constructed on that cleared site. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

The first study of Shostakovich since the end of the Soviet era, this thoroughly documented volume is devoted primarily to the history of Shostakovich's music, though it provides no musical analysis. Fay is a noted Shostakovich scholar and her position vis-`a-vis Shostakovich's controversial Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich, ed. by Solomon Volkov (Eng. tr., CH, Jun'80), is cautious and equivocal: she rarely cites that work. Fay supplements her narrative with a map of the USSR on which she pinpoints the out-of-the-way places the composer visited; a glossary of names that briefly identifies more than 200 people associated with Shostakovich; and a list of works, with date of composition and usually date and place of the premier. The author also includes the performance information in the text, along with the genesis of works, early performances, and early reception history generally in the context of the political considerations of the time and of socialist realism. Shostakovich's official activities within the Soviet system and his declining health receive attention in the final chapters. Fay documents this excellent work with almost 60 pages of endnotes and an extensive bibliography that lists sources unavailable during the Soviet era. For all academic, general, and professional music collections. R. R. Smith; Rhode Island College

Booklist Review

The USSR's foremost composer, Shostakovich (1906^-75), combined romanticism and modernism. His preference for programmatic music led him to include elements of folk song along with dissonance in many compositions, and his forays into the twelve-tone idiom produced memorable melodic strains woven into a romantic fabric. Raised in St. Petersburg, he lived there and in Moscow, teaching students, performing, and serving on various national arts councils for most of his life. He supported the Communist regime by composing music with historical programs, but he eventually denounced the most egregious transgressions of the Stalin years. Most important to his reputation, his music was played throughout the West. Fay's well-written but pedantic biography does little to bring out the man Shostakovich. Instead, Fay represents him through his music, especially his operas, songs, and choral symphonies, arguing that it is in the librettos and poetic texts of Shostakovich that his sadness and dissent are most evident. So far, the music of this prodigious figure has endured, continuing to be played for its aesthetic value, regardless of its politics. --Alan Hirsch

Library Journal Review

The Cold War has ended, but writers on Shostakovich now face its effects on information, as Fay's own published criticism of some Shostakovich-related work has shown. This meticulously documented biography bravely offers a thoughtful, painstaking search for the truth regarding the great, tormented composer's actions and public reaction to his music, but sources themselves often conflict. For example, Fay presents a dozen versions of what happened and why regarding the 1936 withdrawal of the Fourth Symphony, some from the same people at different times. Other facts are equally elusive, and Fay leaves many questions open. A chronological report with a smattering of insights from Fay, this important contribution to Shostakovich scholarship presents the result of many years of study in archives and published accountsÄgroundwork future scholars will appreciate. For academic and large public libraries.ÄBonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Lib., College Park (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One 1906-1919 ------------- Childhood Though the Shostakovich family was of Polish-Lithuanian extraction, the composer's immediate forebears came from Siberia. His paternal grandfather, Boleslav Petrovich Shostakovich, had been exiled there in 1866 in the crackdown that followed Dmitriy Karakozov's assassination attempt on Tsar Alexander II. After the expiration of his term of exile Boleslav Shostakovich decided to remain in Siberia. He eventually became a successful banker in Irkutsk and raised a large family. His son, Dmitriy Boleslavovich Shostakovich, the composer's father, was born in exile in Narïm in 1875 and attended St. Petersburg University, graduating in 1899 from the faculty of physics and mathematics. After graduation, he went to work as an engineer under Dmitriy Mendeleyev at the Bureau of Weights and Measures in St. Petersburg. In 1903, he married Sofya Vasilyevna Kokoúlina, another Siberian transplant to the capital.     Sofya's father, Vasiliy Yakovlevich Kokoúlin, a Siberian native, started as a modest clerk and worked his way up in the administration of the Lena goldfields in Bodaibo to become manager of the mine office. Born in 1878, Sofya was the third of his six children. She excelled as a student at the exclusive Irkutsk Institute for Noblewomen and was musically inclined; after her father decided to resign his position and move to the Crimea, she and a sister went to St. Petersburg, where an older brother already resided, to further their education. Sofya enrolled as a piano student at the Conservatory, where her principal teacher became Alexandra Rozanova. When she married Dmitriy Boleslavovich Shostakovich three years later, she abandoned her studies to devote herself full time to her husband and raising a family. Their Siberian roots remained a source of pride and cultural identity for both parents.     Dmitriy Dmitriyevich was the second of their three children; Mariya, his older sister, who also became a professional musician, a pianist and teacher, was born in 1903 and his younger sister Zoya, who became a veterinarian, was born in 1908. The future composer was born in St. Petersburg on 25 September 1906. His destiny as "Dmitriy" was not foreordained; his older sister recalled that the housekeeper ran into the sitting room shouting "Dmitriy Dmitriyevich has been born!" Being superstitious, a trait she bequeathed to her son, his mother thought it would be bad luck to have two people in one family--father and son--with the same surname and wanted to call the baby "Yaroslav." Shostakovich's aunt, Nadezhda, informed the composer's first biographer that his parents had settled on the name "Yaroslav," but the priest who presided at the christening objected--the suspicion was that he did not know St. Yaroslav's name day--and persuaded them instead to accept his father's name, "Dmitriy."     By all accounts, young Mitya, as he was nicknamed, grew up in a loving, nurturing home. His father was down-to-earth, with a genial disposition, a devoted family man. After the death of Mendeleyev in 1907, he was obliged to supplement the salary he earned at the Bureau of Weights and Measures and soon resigned to take on the well-paying post of general manager of the Rennenkampf estate, overseeing its peat extraction industry. One of the fringe benefits was that the family was able to spend the summers outside the city vacationing on the estate at Irinovka, near Lake Ladoga. After the outbreak of World War I, Dmitriy Boleslavovich took a management job in a joint-stock company which invested in the munitions business and, when industries were nationalized after the October Revolution, found employment in state industrial enterprises before returning to the Bureau of Weights and Measures as a deputy director.     Music-making assumed an important place in the Shostakovich household. It was music--above and beyond their common Siberian heritage--that had brought Shostakovich's parents together in the first place. Dmitriy Boleslavovich had a pleasant tenor voice and enjoyed singing popular romances and opera arias to his wife's accompaniment. His renditions of gypsy romances made an indelible impression on his son, who cherished a special fondness for gypsy music the rest of his life. Sofya was regularly joined by colleagues from her Conservatory days for informal musicales. Chaikovsky, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff numbered among their favorite composers.     Despite the conducive environment, Shostakovich's musical gift did not manifest itself early. Years later he reminisced: "I didn't sneak to the door at the age of three in order to listen to music, and when I did listen to it, I slept afterward just as soundly as the night before." His was a normal childhood. Sofya recalled that her son's special passion was for building blocks; he could spend hours on end engrossed in construction. The young boy demonstrated no great hankering to study music. He later rationalized this reluctance as the outgrowth of a fear of notation and the observation that her own music lessons reduced his older sister to tears. But others recalled that he seemed to love listening to music. His mother preserved the program from a domestic concert that took place in September 1913, where, among the performers, seven-year-old Mitya was inscribed in jest as "under the piano," that is, he had concealed himself in a dark corner so as to remain past his bedtime and hear the music. Getting him to bed on a night when their musician friends were visiting amounted to high drama in itself. When reminiscing about the formative musical experiences of his youth, Shostakovich would often recall the chamber music soirees organized in the next-door apartment by engineer and ardent cellist Boris Sass-Tisovsky, son-in-law of Mitya's godmother and close family friend, the popular children's writer Klavdiya Lukashevich. Through the wall, Mitya would listen for hours to the trios and quartets of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Borodin, and Chaikovsky.     In the spring of 1915, Mitya was taken to the musical theater for the first time, to see Rimsky-Korsakov's Tale of Tsar Saltan . As much as he enjoyed the opera, it did not budge him from his indisposition to study music. He later confessed that what finally piqued his interest was a "Galop" for piano six-hands by Streabogg (pseudonym for Jean-Louis Goebbaerts, a prolific nineteenth-century Belgian composer of light piano pieces) that he heard his sister play with her girlfriends. He asked his mother to help him pick out two of the parts on the keyboard. In the summer of 1915, just as she had done at the same age with his sister Mariya, his mother sat her eight-year-old son down at the piano for his first lesson. Within minutes, she recognized that she was dealing with a youngster of precocious musical ability, possessing perfect pitch and a phenomenal memory. He demanded from the outset to be given a piece to play, so his mother placed the piano arrangement of an andante from a Haydn symphony in front of him. After asking her to explain the meaning of the various accidentals, he proceeded to play the andante slowly, but with perfect accuracy. Shostakovich later recalled that his uncommon musical memory encouraged him to engage in deception, at least until he was caught in the act. His mother would play him a piece. At his next lesson, he would perform it, pretending to play it from score when, in actual fact, he was reproducing it from memory. In any event, mastery of notation came quickly and he was soon effortlessly playing the Haydn andante, a Mozart minuet, Chaikovsky's Children's Album , and more. He also exhibited an exceptional facility for sight-reading. In retrospect, he would commend his mother as a fantastic teacher for beginners: "She managed to convey her love of music. She didn't pester one with exercises, didn't exact hours of practice. She simply wanted us to receive a good musical education."     In mid-August 1915, a month after the lessons had commenced, Shostakovich's mother took him to play for the leading teacher in Petrograd, Ignatiy Glyasser. Glyasser was accustomed to the wunderkind delusions of doting mothers, but after he heard Mitya play, he was obliged to agree with Sofya that she had a remarkable boy. That autumn, Shostakovich enrolled in Glyasser's music school, studying initially with his wife, Olga. At one of his first school concerts, less than six months after he had begun his piano lessons, he performed from memory nearly half of Chaikovsky's Children's Album . His father was amazed that such musical talent had been revealed in his son. Mitya made rapid progress, transferring in 1916 to Glyasser's own class, where he studied sonatas of Haydn and Mozart and, later, Bach fugues. At the school concert on 26 April 1918, he performed Beethoven's Sonata no. 5 in C Minor.     Also in the autumn of 1915, Shostakovich began attending the Shidlovskaya Commercial School, a recently founded coeducational gymnasium attended by children of the well-to-do liberal intelligentsia. The sons of Lev Kamenev and Trotsky numbered among his classmates, and the sons of Alexander Kerensky studied in the classes above and below him. After the nationalization of schools by the Bolshevik government in 1918, Mitya continued to attend this school--now renamed "108th Soviet School"--until its closing in 1919, at which point he transferred to the school attended by both his sisters, formerly known as the Stoyunina School, where he had often given piano performances in the past. If he was an able student, his academic attainments registered less indelibly in the memories of his contemporaries than his musical ones. His father possessed a good library, and Mitya did become an avid, lifelong reader (he was weaned on his godmother's stories and penned poetry as a youngster). By the age of twelve Mitya Shostakovich had resolved, in any case, to devote his life to music. Although he continued his secondary schooling after he enrolled in the Petrograd Conservatory and received private tutoring in mathematics, literature, and history, academic pursuits engaged less and less of his attention. By 1921, his poor attendance and insufficient application to the school courses paralleling his arduous schedule at the Conservatory became a bone of contention and Shostakovich abandoned them. Although there is some disagreement about exactly what transpired, the most persuasive account suggests that as a special dispensation the fourteen-year-old student was given an exam to allow him to leave school with some sort of credential. His failure to satisfy the inflexible requirements of his mathematics instructor, however, meant that he was obliged to leave empty-handed.     Shostakovich's desire to compose was kindled as soon as he started to play the piano. Although most of his juvenilia was eventually either lost or destroyed, he was composing steadily from the age of nine. Family and friends were impressed not only by his pianistic facility but also by his imagination and improvisatory originality. Naturally, many of his compositions were for piano, including some inspired by extramusical stimuli, like "Soldier" or the trilogy, "In the Forest." Among other works was an opera on Pushkin's Gypsies (three excerpts from this setting have survived). In April 1918, he wrote that he was currently composing music to Gogol's Terrible Vengeance , was planning to set Lermontov's poem, "A Song about Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich, the Merchant Kalashnikov and the Soldier Kiribeyevich," and had already notched up a symphony. His mother estimated that he had a portfolio of thirty pieces or so by the age of twelve or thirteen.     Unfortunately, Glyasser was a strict disciplinarian and offered no encouragement to the compositional endeavors of his young charge. According to Shostakovich, this was a major factor behind his mother's decision, most likely in the autumn of 1918, to abandon Glyasser's school and entrust both his and his sister's music instruction to Alexandra Rozanova, Sofya's own former teacher at the Conservatory. Shortly before effecting the transfer, Mitya participated in a Glyasser class outing to hear Serge Koussevitzky conduct the State Symphony Orchestra (the former court orchestra) in performances of Beethoven's Eighth and Ninth Symphonies. The twelve year old followed the score keenly and during intermission went onstage with a classmate to inspect the instruments.     The young Shostakovich's grasp of the import, and his conscious embrace, of the revolutionary milestones of 1917 were almost certainly exaggerated both by his Soviet biographers and, when expedient, by himself. Involvement in radical politics, it is true, was to be found on both sides of Shostakovich's family tree. His paternal grandfather had been a political exile. More recently, in 1907 one of his maternal aunts had married a member of the Social Revolutionary Party in prison as he awaited trial for the murder of a policeman during a police raid. (Sofya helped to galvanize support for his defense, and in the end he was acquitted.) Another aunt joined the Social-Democratic (Bolshevik) Party in the wake of the bloody events of 1905 and for a time duplicated illicit literature while living on the Shostakovich premises, placing them all in peril. Dmitriy and Sofya Shostakovich welcomed guests with a broad spectrum of beliefs--political, religious, and otherwise--into their home, without themselves engaging in extremist politics. There is little question that the Shostakovich children were exposed to a diversity of backgrounds and opinions. Nonetheless, like the majority of the liberal intelligentsia, the Shostakovich family was in fundamental sympathy with the February Revolution of 1917; Zoya recalled her father coming home at the time shouting, "Children, Freedom!"     One image that was vividly etched in the memories of both Shostakovich's mother and his aunt Nadezhda was the solemn funeral procession through the streets of Petrograd, on 23 March (5 April) 1917, to lay 184 victims of the February Revolution to rest in a common grave. The Shostakovich family was among the nearly 1 million mourners who made their way to the Field of Mars, singing the revolutionary funeral march, "You Fell a Victim" When they returned home that evening, young Mitya played "You Fell a Victim" on the piano (in later years he would utilize this classic revolutionary tune in film scores and, most conspicuously, in the third movement of his Eleventh Symphony, The Year 1905 , op. 103). Under its influence, he composed his own "Funeral March in Memory of the Victims of the Revolution." The "Funeral March" and his "Hymn to Liberty," also for piano, were the two works he was invariably asked to play when anyone came to the house. A contemporary recalled hearing the young Shostakovich perform his "Funeral March in Memory of the Victims of the Revolution" at a memorial service held at the Stoyunina School ten months later, in January 1918, this time commemorating casualties at the opposite point of the political compass, victims of the Bolsheviks' bloody dispersal of the duly elected Constituent Assembly. (Petrograd's intelligentsia was especially horrified by the brutal murders by pro-Bolshevik sailors of two incarcerated leaders of the recently outlawed Constitutional-Democratic (Kadet) Party, Andrey Shingaryov and Fyodor Kokoshkin, in their prison hospital.) In a letter written to his Aunt Nadezhda early in April 1918, the young composer lists a funeral march "in memory of Shingaryov and Kokoshkin" among his recent works.     The story that he went to meet Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's train when it arrived at the Finland Station on 3/16 April 1917 and heard the remarks Lenin delivered from the roof of the armored car is almost certainly one of the apocryphal episodes in Shostakovich's biography. The composer himself promoted this legend while at work on the Twelfth Symphony, saying that Lenin's words on that occasion had imprinted themselves on his memory? His younger sister recalled that he rushed off with a group of boys from the Shidlovskaya School and returned "in raptures," saying he had seen Lenin? In comments attributed to him in Testimony , Shostakovich claimed that although the incident did take place (presumably reconstructing this from what he had been told), he did not remember a thing about it. However, as Boris Losskiy, a slightly older schoolmate and a friend of the family, has pointed out, the story is utterly implausible? Lenin's train did not arrive at the Finland Station until after 11 PM, and it was close to midnight before he made his historic appearance on top of the armored car. Shostakovich was ten years old. It is hardly conceivable that his parents would have permitted him out that late at night, let alone during such unstable times.     Evidently cultivated by the composer himself, the notion that Shostakovich met the Russian revolutions of 1917 "on the streets" gained currency quickly. It was invoked in 1927 in validation of his commissioned tribute for the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution, his symphonic Dedication to October , as was the story about having witnessed the brutal killing of a young boy by a policeman and having transmuted the image into his music. Whether the ten year old actually witnessed such a slaying is open to question?     Shostakovich's musical gift commanded notice. One of his classmates, Irina Kustodiyeva, daughter of the famous artist Boris Kustodiyev, told her family about her talented young friend who played Grieg and Chopin so well. Shostakovich was duly invited over to play for her father, a keen music-lover who was confined to a wheelchair and missed attending concerts. He liked to paint while listening to music. The mature artist and the adolescent musician developed a special, warm relationship, and Shostakovich and his older sister became frequent visitors to the Kustodiyev home. (Mariya even served as a model for some of the artist's paintings.) Kustodiyev was solicitous of his young friend's aspirations as composer; on one occasion, when the other children were complaining that Mitya's improvisations were too difficult for them to dance to, and even his rendition of a foxtrot came out spiked with unexpected rhythms and intonations, Boris counseled, "Don't pay any attention to them, Mitya, just play your own thing." Shostakovich was invited to play at an exhibition of Kustodiyev's paintings on 8 May 1920, where he performed his music in public for the first time?     Shostakovich dedicated one of the works he performed often in those days, a Prelude for Piano in G Minor (later catalogued as No. 1 of his Eight Preludes, op. 2), to Kustodiyev. The artist, in turn, made numerous drawings of Mitya, including a famous portrait--inscribed as a present to his young friend in September 1919--of the fresh-faced thirteen year old in striped shirt and sailor's middy, delicate hands resting on a dog-eared score of Chopin. Shostakovich was a thin, fine-featured boy, sensitive and quiet, to outward appearances an ordinary child. His hair was unruly, typically tousled, and he wore wire-rimmed glasses. To some, he conveyed an impression of nervous tension and kinetic energy. At the same time, he possessed a serious, introspective streak, and many describe seeing on his face an expression of rapt inner concentration. The appearance of fragility was deceiving; when he put fingers to keyboard he was transformed almost miraculously into a dynamic, arresting presence.     Mitya also had his fun-loving side. He was quick-witted and enjoyed wordplay. He participated willingly in school entertainments and at children's parties, and birthday and holiday festivities. His ability to furnish the latest dance music accentuated his popularity. During the lean Civil War summer of 1919, Sofya arranged to take Mitya to a boarding house in the country for a few weeks, the better to feed him. Shostakovich was busy preparing for the entrance exams at the Petrograd Conservatory, and he had little time for games, but periodically his mother forced him outside into the fresh air. With other vacationing children, he took part in play-acting the fables of Krïlov, evidently including two--"The Dragonfly and the Ant" and "The Ass and the Nightingale"--that he would soon set to music in his Two Fables of Krïlov , op. 4. Natalya Kube, a ten-year-old girl also staying there that summer, became the innocent and unsuspecting object of Shostakovich's interest; he dedicated "To N.K." three more (nos. 6-8) of his Eight Preludes for piano, op. 2.     Rozanova was much more interested in cultivating Shostakovich's compositional potential than Glyasser had been. (Neatly copied autographs of three of Shostakovich's early piano miniatures, a minuet, prelude, and intermezzo, were found preserved among her papers.) To further his ambition, she recommended that he receive special instruction, so in the spring and summer of 1919 he took lessons from Georgiy Bruni, who promoted improvisation as a means of stimulating the creative imagination. Also during the summer of 1919, in preparation for the Conservatory entrance exams, Shostakovich studied elementary theory and solfeggio.     There was some question in the minds of Shostakovich's parents whether it would be wise for the thirteen year old to pursue concurrently two courses of study--piano and composition--at the Conservatory. In one of his published memoirs, Shostakovich recalled that at his father's request, the famous pianist and conductor Alexander Siloti agreed to listen to him play. After the audition, Siloti was said to have confided to Sofya: "The youngster won't make himself a career. He has no musical abilities. But of course, if he's got the desire, why ... no harm in letting him study." After this, so Shostakovich claimed, he had cried all night and it was out of compassion that his parents had decided to present him to the patriarch of Russian composers and director of the Petrograd Conservatory, Alexander Glazunov, to receive his authoritative assessment. The appointment with Glazunov would mark a pivotal moment in his life.     Glazunov had already had the opportunity, in social surroundings, to hear Shostakovich play the piano. On this occasion, Shostakovich played his own compositions, including some of the op. 2 preludes for piano. Glazunov delivered the considered opinion that Mitya must, indeed, study composition as well as piano. Sofya noted down the words Glazunov uttered after having tested her son's musical knowledge and abilities, on the basis of which he had determined that Shostakovich might enroll in the Petrograd Conservatory's composition program immediately, bypassing any preparatory theoretical courses: "I cannot remember ever having had such gifted children as your son within the walls of the Conservatory." Valerian Bogdanov-Berezovsky, who took entrance exams the same year and became Mitya's boon companion of their Conservatory years, recalled that Glazunov's extraordinary evaluation of Shostakovich as someone "possessing a gift comparable to that of Mozart" raced along the Conservatory grapevine.     The focus of great expectations, Dmitriy Shostakovich was duly enrolled as a student of both piano and composition at the Petrograd Conservatory in the autumn of 1919.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xi
Note on Transliterationp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
1 Childhood (1906-1919)p. 7
2 Conservatory (1919-1926)p. 17
3 Spreading Wings (1926-1928)p. 33
4 Pioneer (1929-1932)p. 49
5 Tragedy-Satire (1932-1936)p. 67
6 Crisis (1936-1937)p. 87
7 Reprieve (1938-1941)p. 107
8 The War Years (1941-1944)p. 123
9 "Victory" (1945-1948)p. 145
10 Public and Private (1948-1953)p. 167
11 The Thaw (1953-1958)p. 185
12 Consolidation (1958-1961)p. 207
13 Renewal (1961-1966)p. 225
14 Jubilees (1966-1969)p. 247
15 Immortality (1970-1975)p. 265
Notesp. 289
List of Worksp. 347
Glossary of Namesp. 363
Select Bibliiographyp. 387
Indexp. 423