The chapters in Contemplating Shostakovich uncover ‘outside’ stimuli behind Shostakovich’s works, allowing the reader to perceive the motivations behind his artistic choices.
His often ostensibly quirky choices are revealed as responses – by turns sentimental, moving, sardonic and angry – to the particular cultural, social, and political conditions, with all their absurdities and contradictions, that he had to negotiate. In the book we see the composer emerging from the role of tortured loner of older narratives into that of the gregarious and engaged member of his society that, for better and worse, characterized the everyday reality of his life.
This collection offers remarkable new insight into the nature of Shostakovich’s working circumstances and of his response to them.
Contributors: Elizabeth Wilson; Alexander Ivashkin; Gilbert C. Rappaport; Ivan Sokolov; Erik Heine; John Riley; Olga Dombrovskaia; Inna Barsova; Vladimir Orlov; Terry Klefstad; Olga Digonskaia.